Eira smiled as flurries dropped around her. She closed her eyes and inhaled through her nose, the sharp sting of ice-crystals tantalizing her nostrils. A bright overflow of mirth escaped her lips as she dashed through the falling snow, kicking up small clouds of the dry powder behind her. She flung herself down a hill, closing her eyes as she tumbled down. She laid in the snow and rested, enjoying the feeling of the soft flakes on her face.
Her father had told her a story when she was little, about the snow. He said the snow was the earth’s way of apologizing for the cold of winter. The soft layers of purity quieting the darkness of winter. He said that the snow was brought down by a small wolf.
It was a quiet creature who slipped quietly through the forests, dancing on the pine branches as he chased shadows away. The wolf’s eyes were bright and clever, smirking with a thousand plans. He, the wolf, had taken it upon himself to chase doubt and shadow away. His self-bestowed task was made all the worse as the days grew shorter. The shadows multiplied, doubts increased, and the ever-present gnawing of winter’s cold embrace set the warmest hearts into a chill.
The wolf was growing tired of the winters. He felt the coldness seep into his bones and the constant reminder of the bare trees and the bare bones of the earth weighed heavy on his fiery spirit. He slowly, month after month, and year after year, stopped chasing the shadows. The doubts that he kept at bay began barking at even his own soul. He ran, whether in fear or in search even he couldn’t tell. But he ran from the winter, up from the forests. Up into the mountains.
The mountains were different. They were like the rocky teeth of a ravenous maw, determined to devour the hopes and dreams. The massive doubts they cast over the world below froze the wolf’s very spirit. The wolf cried, a long mournful howl into the night sky. As he opened his eyes to take a breath, the wolf stopped, the clouds had parted, and a myriad of stars laid spread out before his eyes. A thousand twinkling hopes, just out of reach. The wolf snarled as the clouds rolled back together, the hopes vanished. He howled again. This time, not out of fear, or grief, but with passion and fervor. He was crying out in defiance at the shadows of the clouds and the monstrous doubts below him.
The baying sliced through the cloud, pierced the sky and knocked a hope from the heavens. It careened through the atmosphere and cut into the clouds. In an instance, the gray clouds turned white, then exploded into a hundred million hopes and dreams, scattered over the bareness of the ground below and around the wolf.
The wolf, her father told Eira, danced through the pine trees again, knocking a smattering of flakes and icicles to the ground below, the snow banishing the shadows as moonlight danced around the world below. He told her that the wolf went to the mountain and cried out agains the shadows of winter every year since.
Eira grabbed a handful of hopes and dreams and ran with them, doubts and fears smothered in a white blanket.