Nature Study Story - Winter to Spring
As I prepare for our monthly nature walk I wanted to share this sweet story and poem I found in an old nature study book. You can read it from the original here.
WINTER AND SPRING.
Old Winter sat all alone in his hut. It was a cold, little hut, and it stood beside a frozen river. The winds were howling and shrieking, and the flowers had hid themselves away in the earth. Even the big round sun had crept away towards the south, for he did not like Old Winter and the north.
One morning Old Winter heard a gentle step at his door; a soft perfume came in upon the air. “Ah! you have come, good Spring-time,” Old Winter said, “Come in, the children will be glad you have come. Sit down and let us talk together. “I shall have to creep away to my own home very soon, now that you have come. “You have never seen my home. It is very beautiful, I think, and it is white and shining. “The waters have a beautiful, sparkling roof over them. It is smooth, and one can see the water underneath sometimes; and when the sun looks upon it, it shines like silver.”
“Of course it is beautiful’ said the Spring, “but I like mine better. There is no sparkling snows there; but we have sparkling waters. “There are green leaves on the trees and the fields are full of flowers. When the soft wind comes, then the waters dance, and the grasses bend before it.”
“But I have great power,” Old Winter said, “for when I breathe, the rivers and the whole earth harden, and I change to stone. “If I shake my long white locks of hair, then the earth is covered with glistening snowflakes. The leaves drop from the trees and the flowers disappear.”
“I, too, have power,” said the Spring, “My voice is not very loud, but when I whisper all the trees and the flowers hear me, though they are fast asleep. “ When I breathe the grasses spring up and all the flowers burst forth to greet me. “I shake my golden hair, and soft showers fall upon the earth. The raindrops help the flowers and grasses to come out into the sunlight; and the hearts of the children are full of joy.”
But already the sun had begun to creep back towards the north. He thought he heard the voice of Spring and was coming to see. He felt the softness in the air, and he smelled the sweetness. The birds, too, thought they heard the voice of Spring, so they came and perched upon the roof of Old Winter’s hut. The rivers, too, had heard their name called; and already they were beginning to dance and sparkle. There was a sweet odor, like new grass in the hut; then Old Winter began to grow very still.
“I am sleepy,” he said. By and by, the water dripped from his long, white hair, he grew very, very small and very, very weak; until at last no sign of Winter was left; and on the floor of the hut where he had sat, sprang up a beautiful, pink flower. “It is the Spring Beauty!” the children say, and when they see it they rejoice; for they know that Old Winter has crept away to his home, and that Spring has come to dwell in his place.
Almost time for the pretty white daisies
Out of their sleep to waken at last.
And over the meadows, with grasses and clover
To bud and to blossom and grow so fast;
Almost time for the buttercups yellow.
The ferns and the flowers, the roses and all.
To waken from slumber, and merrily listen
To gladden our hearts at the spring's first call.