Changing Seasons

The Secret about what really happens when seasons change.

Spring is here! Spring is here!

 

Ecstatic birds flew through the trees, knocking off layers of snow and ice. Their songs of joy dragged the hibernating animals out of a hearty slumber. Bluebirds picked at new plants, pulling tips out of the snow like yarn.

 

Seeing the lively activity, the sun took its cue, breaking through the dark gray clouds. Rays of sunlight landed on thick patches of snow. Wide streams of water traveled downhill, heading towards a rapidly rising creek. The heavy snow falling out of the sky changed to rain. Thunder and lightning accompanied the rain, creating a siren for all to hear.

 

Trees burst into leaves and bright flowers, falling down as if they were unruly pieces of hair. They swayed back and forth, dancing in time to the booms of thunder and streaks of lightning. Smaller plants, weeds, flowers, and saplings alike, joined hands and danced around the trees.

 

The older trees changed into beautiful nymphs, twisting and turning about. As their roots touched the ground, rings of mushrooms and blueberry bushes rose from the ground. This was spring, their time to shine. They did not hold back their joy back even a centimeter.

 

Bears, squirrels, and other hibernating animals woke to the prying beams of sun on their backs. They crept out of hidey-holes and joined the festivities. Other animals that stayed active during the winter joined in, complaining about the frigid winter and hungry, dark days.

 

Prey and predator alike grabbed claws and hooves to dance together on this wonderful day. The celebration lasted a week, never stopping. No animal or plant slept, terrified that when they woke, the snow would come again. Animals and plants danced until they were too sore to move.

 

Only one creature did not celebrate this wonderful week. Old Man Winter watched the cheerful spring animals take over his wonderful winter. His many feet of snow quickly melted under the sun’s bright rays.

 

Old Man Winter loved when everything was covered in soft white snow. The animals stayed hidden, and no plants danced and rustled. Just wonderful peace and quiet, everything was one bland color. No pinks and blues to distract someone while they were on their way. Even humans were somber during the long winter months. They just trudged along, hoping to get home as fast as possible.

 

Old Man Winter ruled the winter. He decided how much snow and when the pesky sun could come and melt some of the higher piles of snow. Around January, he liked to let his snow melt a little bit extra to crush the hopes of the poor little creatures.

 

But that was all over now. And the old man would not have peace and quiet again until November, if he was lucky. Winter flexed his fingers, letting ice form on a nearby tree. He still had quite a bit of magic left. Why not fight for a few more months?

 

That childish Spring Child could not compete with his old magic. The old man smiled, showing off sharp ice teeth. That is what he would do. He could keep winter until the child’s mother woke and created her summer’s warmth.

 

The old man chuckled darkly, satisfied with his decisions. He waved his fingers a few more times, creating ice on all the nearby plants. Their leaves wilted and fell, shattering on the ground below. As he walked the ice spread, overcoming the spring, one tree at a time. It slowly headed towards the heart of the merriment.

 

Meanwhile, Spring Child was sitting off to the side of all the merriment. One small groundhog, named Timmy, was being picked on. The other groundhogs made fun of his incorrect prediction of spring. Spring Child was consoling the poor creature.

 

“It’s alright Timmy. Everyone makes mistakes occasionally. I bet you’ll be right next time.” The groundhog just sobbed harder. Spring wrapped his flower-covered green arms around the furry animal. He was not sure how to make the groundhog feel better. While it was true that everyone made mistakes, Timmy was the only groundhog to get the forecast wrong.

 

The child looked over the hill to where many of the nymphs and animals were dancing around. He stilled as he realized that not too far away, the trees were still covered in ice. He frowned; his magic should have melted the ice by now. With a start, he realized that it was slowly creeping closer.

 

Spring Child stood up, rushing towards the crowd. His magic should be able to stop the snow if he got close enough. Timmy looked in the direction Spring Child was running. His eyes widened as he watched the ice inch closer. This should not be happening. Winter was over.

 

 Standing up, Timmy could not decide whether to run and hide or go and help Spring. Guiltily, Timmy hid beneath a log. How could he help Spring Child if he could not ever predict the weather properly? The poor little groundhog could only make things worse.

Old Man Winter stood behind a layer of ice walls, watching Spring try and stop the ice from traveling any closer. The young child did not realize how willingly the old man had let the spring take over before. The child had no magic in comparison to Winter. Even now, the boy was growing tired. He did not notice that ice was growing behind him as well.

 

One small doe, who had been cowering behind one of the larger bucks, noticed this and galloped towards Spring. The child turned around in time to watch the doe become frozen in a chunk of ice. Other animals tried to flee, only ending up frozen in the ice as well.

 

Spring watched as all the animals froze into beautiful ice sculptures. Desperately, he tried to stop it, but he could not even manage to slow it down. Ice and snow attached to his fingers and toes, spreading quickly. Panicked, Spring Child used the last of his magic to try and stop the ice from climbing in further. All his magic did was slow the ice down. It did not take long for his magic to run out. When it did, the ice came back, continuing its race to freeze Spring under layers of ice.

 

Old Man Winter watched as Spring struggled to knock off the ice, and use the last of his magic to attempt to stop the ice. No matter what the boy did, the ice came back, taking over every piece of his body. Soon, all of Spring was frozen in a large block of ice.

 

After that, everything froze over quickly. Any traces of spring were quickly hidden underneath layers of snow. Low clouds made it hard to see for more than a few feet. And all was silent again. Perfect for the ice king. He would have a few more months of peace before Summer awoke.

 

Two weeks went by with the frigid winter still ruling. Every plant and animal that had joined in the festivities was frozen and buried under piles of snow. The only block of ice that could still be seen was Spring’s. Another layer of ice was added to the block each day, to ensure that Spring Child could not get any touch of his magic back. The old man would not ruin this amazing chance with a simple mistake.

 

Only one animal left in the whole area was left unfrozen. The only animal that had not joined in the celebrations, Timmy the groundhog. He was warm and safe in an abandoned rabbit hole. The snow covered up his entrance, keeping and Snowmen guards from finding his hidden hideout.

 

The Spring Child was in danger, Timmy could feel it. Something had gone terribly wrong above the ground. He had spent the last two weeks trying to come up with a plan to save Spring, but he could not come up with anything that would help. All his ideas ended with making things worse. Timmy was just a failure as a groundhog, not a hero.

 

The snow above groaned as more Snowmen passed by. Timmy flinched and buried deeper into his burrow. As he continued scooting back, he gave a small cry of surprise. There was no longer any earth beneath him, he was falling.

 

Timmy landed on a heap at the bottom of the hill. His fur was covered in thick patches of snow. The snow stayed for a moment before melting under his body heat. Around him, only gray and white could be seen. The sun was again hidden underneath layers of thick black clouds.

 

Clicking sounds came from behind the hill. Snowmen had heard Timmy’s fall and were coming to investigate. He had to hide quickly. Burrowing under a few layers of snow, he attempted to hide. Just before he could get his last foot in, a Snowman grabbed it, pulling Timmy back to the surface. Acting on instinct, Timmy twisted around and bit the Snowman on his carrot nose. The startled Snowman let the groundhog go to grab his nose.

 

Timmy fled, heading towards the forest. He was again picked up by a Snowman. The Snowman held him close to its frozen chest, careful to make sure the animal did not escape. Struggling and squealing, Timmy managed to land a kick into the Snowman’s chest, causing his foot to slip though the cold snow.

 

A shiny gold ball resided in the center of the Snowman’s chest. Timmy kicked his foot out again, aiming for the glowing ball. He managed to hit his mark, knocking the gold item out of place. The Snowman froze, his snow body melting lazily to the ground. The shiny gold ball rose to the top, shoving away all of the snow near it.

 

Mesmerized by the swirling gold, Timmy went to pick up the ball. It looked much bigger than he had first thought, almost the size of his head. The groundhog stuck his hand out nervously, barely touching the gold ball. All of the glowing swirls of color rushed to where his fur touched, shining wildly.

 

Nearby piles of snow shook, shifting towards the glowing ball. Timmy released the ball in shock, jumping away. He watched as a Snowman was created around the gold ball. Once the Snowman was fully rebuilt, it stared at the terrified groundhog.

 

Timmy flinched running in the opposite direction. After a minute of running, he turned his head to look back. The Snowman was right behind him, just a few feet away.

 

“Stop,” Timmy cried, almost begging. To his surprise, the Snowman did. It halted to a stop and continued watching the animal. Confused, Timmy the groundhog tried a few more commands, to have them all obeyed.

 

After realizing that the Snowman obeyed him, Timmy sat down on the ground. He could not decide how this would help anything. So what, he had one of the Snowmen? It was not like he could use it as a spy to release Spring and the rest of the animals.

 

Grunting in excitement, Timmy jumped up and down. That was exactly what he could do. Winter trusted the snowmen blindly; one would never betray the Old Man. Maybe the snowman could find a way to free Spring. Then the child could help Timmy find out what to do next. It was perfect, not even this puny groundhog could mess up something so obvious.

 

Timmy headed towards the once-joyful clearing. The Snowman followed along behind, awaiting its orders. At the last layers of trees, the groundhog peered out, looking around warily. Nothing seemed any different. Old Man Winter sat on his throne of ice, shouting out orders to the Snowmen below. The Snowman followed the orders, whatever they were.

 

In the center of the clearing was a large pile of icy chunks. Faces of terrified and worried animals shone through the ice. At the very top stood Spring Child, his once green hair and bright flowers now wilted to a dull brown. The few leaves that still struggled to live were wilting now as well. Old Man Winter was sucking the spring magic out, one flower at a time. Soon, Winter would be unstoppable, and Spring would sleep until his magic came back next year.

 

Timmy ground his teeth together. Something had to be done. Even if he had managed to screw up everything else, he would save Spring and all of the other animals, no matter what. He sent his Snowman forwards, telling the creature to see if it could find a way to melt the ice.

 

The Snowman joined the others, blending in perfectly. Timmy could not even tell which one was the Snowman that obeyed his command. Winter did not seem to notice anything out of order either, continuing to command his minions with passionate glee.

 

He had done it, Spring was losing his magic, and nothing was there to stop him. Why, with the mixture of his and Spring’s magic, even Summer would not be able to stop him. A year of snow and ice and quiet, just imagine it. The wonderful peace; no bright colors to blind the eyes, no sunburns, and no rowdy animals prancing around. Overjoyed, Winter called on one of his creations to serve him. He wanted Spring’s statue closer, wanted to see the magic being drained away.

 

He frowned; the Snowman did not come as he called. Irritated, he called again. Still, the Snowman kept on walking as if nothing was wrong. Winter was not a patient person, being ignored was even worse. He had created these creatures for crying out loud. They should be hanging on his every word, not ignoring him like a rebellious teen.

 

Winter stood up off of his throne. He headed towards the Snowman, intending to make the creature listen. As he walked closer, he noticed something strange about the glow of this Snowman. While the other’s glowed pure white, this one seemed to be glowing slightly gold. Not enough to be noticed usually, but Winter had created each of these Snowmen by hand and could see the difference as plain as day.

 

Wanting to make sure his theory was correct; Old Man Winter called of the Snowman again. It ignored his command completely, not even flinching at the dark tone Winter’s voice carried. Winter scoffed, this creature had adopted another master. But who could be left in this wonderful wintertime? Every animal had been frozen, and no human dared to walk this far into the heart of the forest in such cold weather.

 

Angered, Winter grabbed the glowing gold ball at the Snowman’s chest and pulled it out harshly. The gold ball was flung near the edge of the forest, no longer able to create a Snowman. He would not risk another traitor in his midst. The Old Man called all of his Snowmen over, making sure no one else had been turned.

 

Timmy looked sorrowfully at the ground. He forgot that his Snowman would no longer listen to Winter’s commands. His only chance at saving Spring now lay near his feet, melting the ice around it. It could no longer become a Snowman.

 

Timmy blinked, looking at the glowing gold ball again. It wasmeltingthe snow around it, quickly. Maybe it could melt the ice around Spring. Timmy the groundhog looked over to where Winter stood. He was surrounded by all of the Snowmen, not paying attention to anything else around him. If he moved fast enough, Timmy might be able to melt Spring Child before Winter even knew what was going on.

 

Making up his mind, Timmy grabbed the gold ball and raced towards the pile of animals. Muttering apologies under his breath, Timmy climbed over the chunks of ice, scrambling to the top. The gold ball was starting to singe his fur, but Timmy paid it no mind. He was almost to the top.

 

Just before he made it to Spring, he heard a cry of outrage. Old Man Winter had noticed his ascent and started shouting orders. Snowmen were at the base of the ice pile, a few even starting the climb. Panicked, Timmy slipped of the last block of ice.

 

He kept hold of the gold ball as he fell down. One outstretched chunk of ice saved him from falling directly into the Snowmen’s icy grasp. Looking down, Timmy realized the chink of ice held a doe. He thanked her before starting his upwards journey over again. He kept the ball tightly in his hand and moved as fast as possible. The Snowmen were almost caught up to him now, have much better traction on the ice than his feet.

 

Timmy scrambled over the last chunk of ice, coming face-to-face with the frozen Spring Child. He thrust the ball forwards hoping that his idea would work. Nothing happened, the ice did not melt, and now the Snowmen were climbing over the top. Timmy closed his eyes, his heart beat frantically in his chest. He had tried, even if the groundhog had failed. He did not cower under the snow. Spring would be proud of him.

 

Timmy sneezed as a large drop of water fell on his nose. He opened his eyes and looked up. The ice was melting; it just melted from the inside-out, instead of the other way around. The groundhog watched in amazement as Spring Child melted the ice around him, creating a flood of warm water everywhere. The Snowmen that were at the stop started melting where the water touched.

 

“You are right, Timmy. I am very proud of you.” Spring Child grabbed the gold ball out of the stunned groundhog’s grip. He drained the magic from the ball. That magic was centered over the clouds, shoving them away from the sun.

 

The sun immediately let loose hundreds of giant rays, melting whatever they touched. Spring child helped as well, using all the magic he had absorbed to set free the animals below him.

 

Winter tried to fight back, but he had used his magic to trap Spring. When Spring broke free, his magic was shattered. The Old Man did not have a chance. As soon as the animals were free, they rushed around, following Timmy’s orders to destroy all of the Snowmen.

 

Very soon, all that was left was Winter himself. The sun aimed all of its rays on the Old Man. Spring Child and the animals watched joyfully as Winter melted into a giant puddle of water.

 

Plants and Animals joined hands, starting their celebration all over again. Everyone participated, singing, dancing, and cheering alike. They had much more to celebrate than they did last time, and not much time to go about it.

 

“Excuse me, I have a toast to make,” Everyone stopped as Spring Child stood up on top of a tall rock. He held a bright orange flower full of honey in his hand. “I would like to thank Timmy the groundhog for his heroic deeds.”

 

The animals and plants cheered. Timmy blushed, hiding behind the rock. Spring Child would have none of that. He grabbed Timmy by the hand and lifted him up to the top of the rock.

 

“And,” Spring continued, “I would like to announce that he happened to be theonlygroundhog that made the correct prediction of two more weeks of winter this year.”

 

 

The End

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