Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Hmph! (03/04/10)
TITLE: Better Than That
By Loren T. Lowery
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Night mist, once icy and jeweled by a full-moon’s brilliance, begins to melt Winter’s ermine coverlet in the warmer, lengthening days. Beneath its opaque and frosted world, silent in a translucent chrysalis, a metamorphous begins.
Beguiled by a rippled thawing, stirred by fledgling dreams, Spring awakens to attest the fragments of Winter’s toil. Haughty, exuberant and unburdened, Spring rouses to best the world of yesterday’s gloom. “I can do better than that,” she gibes the wearied stature of Winter.
And Winter, bent and laden with time’s toll, replies in halting breaths. “And I too, once said the same to Fall.”
Flamboyant, Spring begins her task to vanquish Winter’s dour tones with sprig and blossom dipped in the dawning hours of sunrise. The world became transcendent and leaf upon leaf blushes green. Blossoms soon mirror the yellows in the sun, the blues in the heavens and the reds of the earth.
Exuberant, she coaxes animals from lairs, decrees births in once fallow fields and gives voice of song to birds. By her work, she entrances the heart of lovers and imperiously inspires poets to write of herself.
Yet even as the sap rises, giving substance to the stem and flush to the bloom, so to she wearies. Not of her labor; but rather of the fruits of that labor, and some primal urge that her charges were called to be something more.
Unequal to the task, Spring becomes dull with sameness. Her first blending with the next, the next blending with the former, a ubiquitous monotony forsworn only by its own tenuous propriety. A diaphanous blanching, baptizing it as a season of longing.
And so comes Summer, an observer harbored in the breast of the sun. Passionate, august with bold ideas, speaking valiantly and unashamedly of Spring’s inadequacy. “I can do better than that,” he shouts. His voice a shimmering brood light in the darkness.
And Spring, clothed in the pale tatted silks of love’s labor replies with a whimper, fleeting as a will o’ a wisp, “And I too, once said the same to Winter.”
So then Summer begins his climb to grander heights. Beckoning each member to follow, flushing each to its fullest contentment – straining each vessel to breaking. Brighter colors, larger blooms, their destinies to be fulfilled in progeny.
Baton raised, Summer, a conductor orchestrating his performers to a perfect rhythm with disharmonic sounds. An artist, whose brush blends clashing colors to effortlessly compliment one stroke with the next. Summer, a virtuoso, creating a masterpiece of sight and sound.
But Summer soon wearies under its own creation and sighs to awaken Fall, asleep in the lengthening shadows of verdant, furrowed valleys. She peers out to see Summer, a season contracting with expectation, writhing for release.
Shaking the rich soil from her bed clothes she proclaims, “I can do better than that.”
And Summer covers his ears as if to silence the din of his season and speaks in a voice parched by its former exuberance, “And I too, once said the same to Spring.”
And Fall becomes mid-wife, spoiling her charges. Patient, quiet, stealing the best from Spring and Summer’s skill.
Her season, undemanding, peaceful in repose of filtered light and currents of wind spiced with ripe harvest - waving wheat and greening corn. Her voice buoyant; softened by its sweep through willows on placid lakes and cradled in the soft cry of crow, gull and flocking geese.
Fall reigns satiated, resplendent in glory, bereft of purpose but to rest in reflection of not who she was, but rather who she was not. Perfection achieved, growth brought to a standstill - ennui birthed by complacency.
Winter, disturbed by the quiet, awoke to the smell of decay in his nostrils. From his cave in the North Winds he looks out to see Fall - morose, garbed in the drab raiments of mourning. Lifting his chin, he declares, “I can do better than that.”
His voice, haunting as the chords of Lorelei, lulls Fall to further contentment. Trance like, she follows somnambulant and uncaring. Mumbling in her stupor, “And I too, once said the same to Summer.”
And Winter boasts. Spring’s former rebuke forgotten or possibly lost in ancient hopes that the best could at last forever be sustained in but one season - his.
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