There are many tales of the seasons, and of how the gods brought them into being. Some of them are even true.
“Winter, dear, hurry up!” Summer called over her shoulder, green skirts swishing over skin the color of fertile earth, under hair like fresh grain. “It’s nearly time.”
“Sunset isn’t for some minutes yet, Summer,” Winter said. Winter had been as young as Summer, some months ago. His hair had been true blonde, his skin as pale and smooth as ice, his eyes a blue or a purple so pale as to be nearly white. Winter was pale yet, but a wan pale now, rather than a youthful one. Gray hair, rougher skin, failing eyes.
Summer laughed and ran back to him. “I know. But the sooner you get there, the sooner you can rest, and the better you’ll feel next long night. Look at me: I was there nearly an hour early, and I feel fantastic!”
“You’ve only just woken,” Winter chuckled as Summer nearly danced around him, “of course you feel fantastic.”
Summer helped Winter to his place of rest, an oddly tall peak for the area, where he would rest for the next few months, as Summer had rested in her spring when her hair had been dull and her feet heavy. “Rest well, dear friend.”
“Thank you, Summer,” he murmured, then yawned. “See you around even night?”
“Of course.” She sat by him until the sun touched the horizon, then stood.
With Winter resting, there would be fewer flowers, more fruit. It was an energetic time of her life, and a draining one. An exciting one.
Summer strode out to greet the new younglings.
“Come on, Summer,” Winter said quietly. “Almost there.”
Summer had faded. Her hair was the white of age now, rather than the lively corn-blond it had been early in her season. Her skin was still the deep color of fertile soil, but it had less shine in it, and had roughened some.
From a distance, Winter might look the same. He was pale, his hair was pale, and his irises were the palest one could have without all but the pupil being white. But, for all his pallor and quiet, he was as strong at his height as Summer was at hers. Burning or freezing feels the same. Everything else is a matter of personal preference.
“I did more than I should have, I think,” Summer mumbled.
“It’s fine. Rest now. Come on, there you go.” He took her arm and led her into the hot spring.
“See you spring’s even night, mm?” Summer asked drowsily.
“Yeah. Of course.”
Summer safely deposited, Winter went out to the land. The trees welcomed him already, with bright leaves and a satisfying crunch under his feet. The animals were quieter, but no less clear: a hundred hundred breaths moving air to the same beat. Trees abscising, animals resting, Summer settled…there was only one thing left, to make the land truly Winter’s.
He made it snow.