The Bride of Winter
Long ago, Far Vision looked out across the Great Canyon and saw Winter strolling over the mountain peaks. He will soon be in this valley, she thought, feeling a chill in her bones. Far Vision hurried back to camp to tell her people Winter was walking toward them with a vengeance.
After a long thought Running Hare said, "No, we have always traveled faster than Winter". The people nodded in agreement with Running Hare. They smiled and danced around displaying their muscles, showing they were strong and quick. Winter would never catch up with them.
Far Vision watched the people gather their few belongings thinking they were foolish to believe they could outrun Winter's reach this time, but she could not defend her vision. Running Hare was a chief and once the people agreed with him, the decision would not change.
"Hurry, Far Vision" a friend called to her, "Come, run with me". Far Vision shook her head; she had decided to stay behind. "Hurry, Far Vision", called another, "You wouldn't want Winter to catch you."
No one forced her to go, that was the people's way. When the last runner disappeared into the forest, Far Vision sat quietly on a flat rock. She closed her eyes and raised her face to the pale light of the sun. She was worried the people could not run fast enough to escape Winter this time and tried to think of some way to help them.
When nothing came to her mind, Far Vision shifted her thoughts to her own survival. Her people had never stayed in one place long for they were hunters and gatherers, always moving with the seasons. To prepare and store food for a long wait would be a different experience and she was unsure how to go about it.
An abundance of wild plants had come to fruit in the valley. There were pine nuts and acorns in the forest that she could gather and a cave, a small one, that she could live in.
It was hard work to gather the berries and nuts, the wild grains and herbs, the kindling and forest fall, but as the days grew shorter and colder, Far Vision stored a bounty of food and supplies in the cave, and made it warm and comfortable to live in.
As she worked, an idea formed in her mind, a way to trick Winter into staying in the valley instead of following her people. First, she would offer herself to him as his bride and make him so comfortable with good food and a soft sweet smelling bed of grasses and herbs he would never want to leave.
One morning when she awoke the ground was icy and crunched underfoot. Far Vision knew Winter was close by and dressed herself carefully in a long flowing yellow robe adorned with golden and red leaves and berries. Gathering her courage and a small pack of supplies and water, she slowly walked to a ledge above Great Canyon to wait for him. When she saw Winter storming across the Great Canyon, she cried out to him, "Ho, come this way and I will be your woman."
. Holding the frenzied winds up, Winter paused in his dissent into the canyon. Looking around, he saw Far Vision and laughed. "What can you offer me little human that I can not take by force whenever I want it?" Far Vision's mind began to churn with anxiety, she had not expected a contest, and this would cost her energy in holding a needed vision in her mind. Then she saw it, a lull, a…."Respite!" she called out.
"Respite? Why would I want that? I enjoy my work, I enjoy turning everything white and frozen!" Winter threw his great arm into the air and sent a flurry of snowflakes over Far Vision spangling the berries and leaves on her costume.
Far Vision bowed respectfully, "Would it not be pleasant though, to rest for just a short while in your great work? In my camp I have the supplies for a fine meal and sweet grasses and soft furs for a bed, waiting just for you."
Winter, calming to the invitation, stroked his frosted whiskery chin in long thought. It might be that the thunderous grumbling in his belly were hunger pangs and the waspish head pains plaguing him were not so much anger but that he was very tired from working too hard.
Far Vision could see that Winter was relenting and slowly began to back up toward her camp. Winter eyed her suspiciously but his awakened hunger had already impaired his thinking. He drifted after her, delicately dusting the tree boughs with soft icy lace as he passed by.
While Far Vision prepared him a huge meal, Winter caught the winds, who howled complaint at his indulgence, and stuffed them all in the hollow of a tree trunk. He emptied his assorted bags of snowflakes, hail, sleet, icicles, and rime all over the valley and then sprawled on the soft furs Far Vision had laid out for him and ate and ate and ate. When the food supplies were nearly gone, Winter yawned, nodded his mighty head onto his chest, and was soon burrowed into the sweet grasses in the little cave, fast asleep.
Listening to Winter snore, Far Vision blocked the entrance to the cave with animal skins and built up her small cook fire with logs and stones. As the cave grew warmer, Winter slowly began to melt away. Soon the little valley turned to rivulets and runnels of Wintermelt. After a long while, when her food supplies were nearly gone, Far Vision crept out into a pale sunlight struggling to touch the earth and awaken the sleeping life. She released the winds from the tree hollow and watched them joyously shake the last of the snow from the tree branches.
Far Vision then stood tall and proud on the flat rock smiling over her winter's work. She had a right to feel proud, for not only had she changed the course of humankind and created Thanksgiving, she had invented the first Sauna.
Color Far Vision