The First Week of June
Winter came a different way that year. There was no gradual change, no overlap of seasons. Whatever heavenly council had ruled to keep the skies blue, the clouds whispy and the sun bright indefinitely. It had been a mild summer prior and life took on a certain, expected reliability. Complacency developed. The tiniest shower was news; a frosty morn cause for complaint. And then winter finally arrived.
When winter came it was not like a thief, unannounced. Winter arrived like a circus coming to town. The day began like all those before it, the chirp of birds as the sunrise shooed away the clouds. The shadows shortened, the air was still and dry. A crack of thunder was like a trumpet, breaking the silence, and then came the parade. A wind led the way, spreading the word. Behind the wind came the clouds. Gigantic, black blankets that hung over the rooftops like Thanksgiving day balloons. Then came the rain, faces appearing at all the windows that lined the streets to watch it swirl in sprays.
The darkness followed these, the sun sucked away in an instant like a conjurers illusion. In the darkness came the accessories. Acrobats carrying umbrellas, countless clusters of them balancing on narrow strips of dryness between huge expanses of water. They performed their choreographed dance, following the same steps, seeking the same shelters, sipping similar soups. Lights flashed green, then red, then green again and the performers danced as if in fast forward, dodging drips, disappearing into doorways and ducking downpours.
Then the night took control of the show, a hint of the coming finale: the last float, the end of the parade. Everyone held their breath as it rounded the corner. It was the cold. The children cried out. The cold came and it stayed. That’s when we knew that winter had arrived. In that first week of June, that’s when we realised what we had thought was winter had only been autumn.