Everything is grey. The fresh blue of the sky has melted into a bleak, colourless hue. The love of the sun has dwindled away, taking all the livelihood of nature with it. Great forests that once flamed with bright affection have abandoned my eager love and turned their sulking faces away from me. Even the evergreens, who promised their colour until they breathed their last have darkened their eyes; they too have soaked in the grey to their very roots. I cannot turn to flowers nor grass, nor the choppy waters that once embraced me –they choose to love their grey souls instead of me. Slowly, yet all at once they forgot that we were ever lovers at all.
Yet it is not them that my softened and bruised heart longs for. It is you. You have caught me in your powdery arms before; sweeping me upwards after their careless spirits let me fall. It is your lingering presence that I long for most, the way your very being marks everything I do. You love with a purposeful love, a deep attachment that you never cease to remind me of. It is you that I miss. The way you dance with the world, leaving a piece of you upon every life you touch. I miss the unique life you encourage me towards – your own energy invigorating me to the core. I miss every breath of pure, untainted air that you carry with you. You fill every vein with riveting oxygen, a welcome change from the sleepy, damp air I have grown accustomed to.
But mostly, I long for your colour. You are not the grey that has pitifully soaked into the world. No, you are white. A pure, untainted white so radiant that you produce your own light. You also detest the grey, and decorate the world with your consuming colour. You calm the ashen waves and hold them still; you blot out the sorrowful ground; you alight softly on the unfaithful trees. Indeed, I see without distraction when I am amidst your love, your white life.
Do not leave me in this bleak grey. If you ever loved me, do not let me suffer in this overcast gloom any longer.
You do not like to be forgotten. In a wintry rage, you poured forth all the jealousy and envy harboured inside of you as you watched me in my seasons of love. How you howled, even as I begged you to take me back. But you did not shed tears of remorse, hurt by my betrayal, no, you returned headstrong with piercing accusations. You swept in, reclaiming everything that had once been yours in one swift action.
I did not mind your wrath, your overpowering admonishment as you reappeared. I did not mind, because it meant that you were here. Though you seethed with condemnation, I was glad because you came – that was all I wanted. In an instant, your wrath depleted. Satisfied that I had learned my lesson, you relented. And then you embraced me, calming me and the turmoil around us. Finally, finally we are one again.
This is what I worship most about your love. The muffled lullaby you sing as your soft snowflakes alight on the world. You are the essence of merriment on days such as this; your delight in decorating every object spills from your heart and into mine. You are an artist who sketches with only one shade, perfecting the blemishes of the darkened landscape, creating a picture that portrays your very passion and purpose. And you’re giving. Oh, you give. The very art you create is proof of your selfless heart, because you make it for my joy.
But your beauty is not limited to your graceful strokes across earth’s canvas. It is the air you carry. Your breath is invigorating; I can feel you smile as you brush against my flushing cheeks, simply encouraging my own energy to increase. Your air is confident, as someone who knows who they are without the need to be told. I admire this about you, that though you can boldly stand alone, you still choose to embrace the world, and more, love me.
I adore the way you create such opportunities for people to play with and enjoy the being you are. Children love you; you provide an endless source of entertainment for them. Others, who have found ways to explore you by vehicle or skates, or skis, love you just as much. You provide an outlet for them that is unique to you; I pity those who do not know the extent of your glorious snowy self.
But you certainly are relentless. It seems as if your character grows stronger every day as I know you more. It’s not that you were weak before, but you were far less unapproachable. I fear that your independence will be your downfall – you do not need me, and you seem intent on proving it.
Could it be that you do not enjoy being told what others want from you? You seemed to love delighting me when you first arrived, but now you overstep your boundaries. You do not need to keep spilling your little flakes of snow! Once, your cold air was revitalizing, and I relished the lasting tingle on my cheeks. Why then, must you insist on penetrating your freezing fingers deeper into my skin? Now, you bite me and whip bitter frost through my very soul.
There are days when I try to love you for who you are, but you are no longer interested in my prosperity. Present in your white eyes is an unhealthy fixation to display your dominion. The wind is yours to control, the clouds are ever-present with your brooding nature; all your attention is focused towards their submission.
But I will stick with you in these times. I remember the memories of your cheer and gratitude from but one month ago, clinging to their allure. I can survive your new frosty song. I will still love you and sing along.
Since when have you been friends with the sun? How is it that you tolerate his cordiality now, of all times? Surely you are blind to the complete incompatibility of this friendship. I too, love the sun and all its warmth, but this friendship will only lead to disaster, of that I am certain.
You keep your icy breath, your acidic embrace, but you let the sun shine onto all the world that you once so adamantly coveted and protected. You have allowed him to make a mark on the perfect piece of art that you created – it’s tainted with a work that is not your own. Though your personality is strong, it cannot protect you from the fluid effects of the sun.
No, you cannot accuse me of jealousy for I am not envious of the sun. My indignation is sparked from your sudden change in character. I am no longer convinced of the validity of your nature. You are forgetting the Winter I loved and longed for, the one whose gentle snow offered consolation. You are forgetting that you were once proud of your independence, your preciousness, your solidarity. But now, you are letting it slip away; the sun is coercing the trees to loosen the layer of snow you so delicately placed upon them, and you allow it.
You’re frustrating me. You are stubborn, and cold, and selfish. You know how I loved you, but now, you are too preoccupied with loving yourself to remember me. I walk out the door to greet you, but you push me aside and punish any inch of skin that might be exposed. Ironically, the sun is my only salvation – he melts away the lasting effects of your cold fingers. I’m not sure how much longer I can endure your overpowering torments.
I saw Summer today. It was following one of our unfounded stormy arguments, where you always disappear, hiding from me. Neither of us win. Yes, you temporarily ran away, leaving me to nurse my frost-bitten heart on my own. And that’s when I saw her. I didn’t expect her to stop and talk with me like she did, but I will not lie and tell you that I did not appreciate it.
She was soft, and gentle and warm. Your polar opposite. I don’t know if she realized the shivering state I was in, but in her carefree and graceful way, she danced into my presence and thawed the icicle you left in my soul. She didn’t linger, because your wintry winds announced your return, but as she hastened away, she promised that she would not be gone long.
You were unremorseful upon your return. We sulked and brooded, hating one another. If Summer ever returns – if you have not frightened her away – then I will take her hand and flee, escaping towards the blissful sunshine. I cannot stand the monster you have become, the ignorant storm you choose to be. And the closer I come to leaving you, the less you seem to care.
Your rage was undeniable when you discovered my new lover. In one final blizzard of fury, you made your last stand. It was a tantrum, a frenzy. As you haughtily threw your belongings around, I was only grateful that this meant you would soon be gone. You scoffed resentfully as I argued back, withdrawing my love from you, and passing it to another. I shed my coat and shook the snow from my boots – the watercolour array of Summer’s colours presented a greater pull than your dull shade.
You turned, stinging me with these words: “You watch me leave now with a smile on your face, but it won’t be long before I hear your plaintive cry again, begging for my return. You can flirt with the seasons and have your summer flings, but you will always come back. I am the lover you always return to.”
Then, you bitterly whipped around and slammed the door behind you.
Caitlin Bouwma looks at the world through her own set of binoculars. You'll often find her walking around with a camera or her pen and paper. Optimistic yet opinionated, she’s got a thing or two to say about the activities of her generation and those like it.