All The Many Seasons   2500.06.01*  
Written By: Joan Milligan
Crackle explains why she's hard-pressed to pick a favorite time of the year.
Posted: 09/06/06      [14 Comments]

I love the winter. I love it because it's wet. It rains in the summer too, but in the summer it's mostly this hot slosh, and it doesn't turn to puddles, it soaks into the ground or disappears right back into the air. And I love puddles. Sometimes in winter, where there aren't many trees, there are more puddles than ground, and instead of jumping from bit of ground to bit of ground like Mama and Evervale do I jump from puddle to puddle. Especially when I'm walking with Mama and Evervale. No one avoids getting wet in winter! It's not right.

I love winter because that's when the rivers are fullest and loudest, and sometimes they roar so much it gets hard to sleep, so I get out of my den and I go to look at them and when the moon rises I go to Otter and tell him he can't play in the river today. Sometimes I do it when the river is calm too. Starskimmer says Otter is in the river too much anyway. I'm just helping her raise him properly.

And sometimes it'll even snow, and then I can wear my red scarf and Evervale has to put her furs on and then we go outside and throw snowballs at True Edge. True Edge warns us that he'll tell Snowfall, but I tell him that the snow already fell so it's too late for that. Sometimes there isn't enough snow on the ground, so I crawl up on some very heavy branch and shake some off for us. Usually Whispersilk is under that branch, but I only find out about that later.

I love winter, but, sometimes it's so cold Papa bundles me up so much I look about as round as a snowball, and most cases I get a runny nose anyway, so, maybe I like autumn better. I love the colors! Most of the time the leaves are green and boring. In autumn they turn all red and brown, just like my hair, so when there are bits of them in my hair it's harder to notice. Sometimes I hide under a pile of leaves and just my hair sticks out so no one knows I'm there. Except when they step on me.

In autumn the wolves get their cold-time fur, and Muddypaws sheds and sheds and sheds until Rainpace says that we could make another wolf from all that fur. So I gather up the fur and hide it in my den just in case he decides to go along with it. Mama usually throws it all out when we clean the den for summer.

Autumn is Quick Fang baiting season too, because when the first good rains comes down all the crawly things come out to crawl. Chicory and me go through all the best pools and pick up all the slimiest things with the most legs to hide in Quick Fang's leathers. Chicory says next autumn I'll be old enough to do it all by myself. I can't wait!

But we get the best games in springtime, when it's not so cold anymore so I can go out whenever I want and look at all the things that do their mating dance, like the birds and the wolves and Cloudfern and Greenweave when they think I'm not looking. If it's been a bad winter we all go to some river to see how the ice breaks up, and someone always runs to the edge to jump in, which means their mamas didn't teach them anything, Papa says. I don't know why he says that because Starskimmer obviously taught Notch the best way to dive in to splash everyone. Mama wouldn’t let me jump in, but once when Longshot stood there and thought about it she let me help him.

I don't like the painting celebration all that much though. Where's the fun in getting dirty if you're supposed to?

In the spring we go pick flowers and berries and eggs. I like egg-picking best of all, because flowers and berries just grow right in front of my face while eggs grow on trees. Sometimes when I climb up to pick eggs I find a nest full of chicks instead all squealing. Snowfall says they squeal for food, but I don't understand how that works. When I squeal for food, Mama just says I'm making her head hurt.

But the summer is my special season. In the summer the nights are short and everyone goes to sleep early and wastes all their time. I can't ever sleep in the day in the summer, it's hot and sticky and sometimes Papa snores, so I get out of the den and the sun is huge. It makes me all brown and pretty all over and makes my hair bright red, which is very, very special. I'm the only elf who has a summer pelt just like the wolves.

When it's sunny I go look for bugs. Bugs love the sun and summer like me, so once I thought that maybe I'm supposed to be a bugrider, not a wolfrider. Since I like catching bugs I tried bonding with a spider. Notch tried to help me, too, until Beetle pointed out that I couldn't ride a spider, so maybe it wasn't such a good idea. In the summer everything is full of bugs, big fat bloodsuckers and pretty riverflies and butterflies. And they fly, too. But I don't like it when they fly into the den, so when I catch them there I eat them.

And when it gets so hot that I can't sit on my wolf because my bottom feels like it's on fire we go to the lake. I love the lake so much, it's big, and it's wet, and there are so many types of mud there. There's dry sandy mud on the shore that's good for making shapes in, and sticky-sloshy mud on water's edge that when you dig in you find good water for drinking even though why would you need to, there's a whole lake, and there's the mud I dig out from the bottom of the lake that cakes in the sun and doesn't go away ever. Especially in hair. Especially in Moss's hair. And in my hair too when Moss dunks me under. We race in the water and play Grab-a-Fish and Splash-a-Wolf and Dunk-the-Chief. I'm the best Splash-a-Wolf player in the tribe.

And then the summer gets long and lazy and all we do all day is find and make the best food. I go look at Willow charm her bees to get some honey and at Notch charm his Willow so he can get some honey too, and Goldspice makes travelcakes and never understands how come she's always one short of the number she made. I pick dreamberries so I can hide them and have them when no one's looking, but I always forget where I hid them. Near the end of the summer it starts to rain again, and I go out to celebrate the season's first batch of mud.

I love the summer. And the spring. And autumn. And winter. You'd think I'd love winter best because of the slosh, or autumn because of the leaf bits, or spring because of the splashing, or summer because of the bugs, but really, you can make a big mess in every season, if you really try.

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