The Melody of Winter by Eidan Miana

The symphony of the city screams out of tune, unpleasant and erratic. The ruckus of piercing horns, hissing bells, and chaotic conversations pound my ears relentlessly. Screens harass my eyes from every angle, aggravating my spirit. People flock and rush, attempting to satisfy their avaricious hunger for endless wealth. The hourglass drains out, yet my tension does not. 

	With a desperate push, the sheet turns. 

I glance down at my brown boots, finding myself on the border between concrete and soil. My mind is a lump of congestion. Wanting to unwind, I reach a hand out to nature’s spell. Peeking over my shoulder, I stare at the gray, monochrome vehicles behind, stiff and devoid of passion, vibrance, and living. Each and every part, made for work, only for work. How I despised those machines. I face forward, stuffing my hands into my pockets and take the first steps on my voyage. 

	Sunlight gleamed through the shedding trees, vividly illuminating the forest floor. Golden brown and burnt orange leaves lined the rich, lively path, with a few late bloomers still gliding to the ground through the chilling air. A white-tailed deer skipped ahead, with its eager fawn trailing behind. The allure of autumn was beginning to fade, with the frosty winter to soon roll in. The air was starting to chill, but not yet uncomfortably. It chilled the spirit, invigorating the mind with life. 

A gush of water flows downstream, calmly bumping rocks and pebbles as it moves.  I wander over to the babbling brook, finding more coffee and marigold leaves lazily floating in the sapphire. A couple of fish were still flailing about, fervently squirming for food before the heart of winter came. To my left, I notice a couple of small rocks lined up in a very peculiar pattern. Three rocks peer above the water, sturdy and just large enough for someone to step on them. On the other side lay another trail, just as alive as the other, yet with much less wear. A new path, inviting curiosity. 

How intriguing. Shall I take it?

	I decide to drift away from the familiar, and saunter to the first stone. A wave of hesitation reverberates through me, but in need of an exciting change of pace, I ignore it. The rocks are sturdy enough to hold my weight, but too minuscule to spend no longer than a couple seconds before I lose my balance. A second too long and I’ll be squirming with the fish. I deeply inhale a breath of chilling air, steel my nerves, and leap from rock to rock. My moves are swift and meticulous. Two more rocks. One more rock. I lunge out and extend to the other side.

	My brown boots touch down safely on dry land, kicking up a tiny portion of bygone autumn leaves. My head swivels around, glancing back at the azure stream. It stares back, reflecting the sun’s golden rays into my eyes. A sigh of relief escapes my mouth as my curious odyssey now begins. I stroll forward, occasionally stepping on crisp, dry leaves that fill the quiet air with chimes of the forest. The beauty of the trail becomes more astounding and alluring with each stride. As I venture deeper and deeper into nature’s reach, I am entranced by its tranquility. The tides of its healing vividly caress my hands, face, and legs. Feelings of distress, frustration, and worry all drain out of my mind, with serenity, fulfillment, and comfort taking their place. More friends of the forest emerge here, as they roam free with minimal disruption. A family of hares prance in the meadow to my right, their warm fur slowly turning snow white. Squirrels forage along the forest floor, harvesting nuts and seeds through the intertwined roots. The harmony of nature hums along smoother than any gears or machines could ever run. 

	I’ve ventured quite deep into the natural world now, with only the playful meadows to see, and the calm hushes of the forest to hear. The simple deciduous branches swayed in the calm breeze, trailing the stirring wind. However, the scenery began to change. The sun had fallen around 20 degrees in the sky since I crossed the stream, and now the sky had begun to change hues. Dashes of crimson and apricot filled the once blue canvas. The early sunset sky lit up the forest, giving it another dimension of wonder. Up ahead, something peculiar caught my eye. There lay a clearing, an open space without the leafless trees that previously filled the scene. Just past the clearing was a mysterious thicket of lush, evergreen pines. 

Interesting. I thought. What a peculiar forest.

	I ventured past the clearing, pressing onwards towards the pines. They were gorgeous, the leaves still full of life, standing strong in the face of winter. The forest floor was brimming with rich pinecones and abundant pine needles. A scent of the morning’s petrichor faintly incensed the air, still revitalizing and electrifying. The stage was like no other; props of tall, healthy pines, pure and playful hares in the meadows, and deer dancing amidst the understory, all highlighted by the scarlet, nectarine, and golden tints brushed in the sky. As I marveled at the allure of the scene, the natural world decided to present me with one last gift. A single snowflake feathered down onto my arm, boasting its intricate crystalline structure. Its brothers soon followed, with the white powder beginning to sprinkle onto the emerald pines, accentuating its jade leaves and sturdy brown trunks. The scene had reached its final stage, all of the pieces fitting together in consonance.

	The sweet tune of the deer. The euphonic pines wavering in the wind. The harmonic kiss of snow. They all combine as one, serenading the spirit. Nature’s orchestra has officially started its number. 

The melody of winter has begun. 

Eidan Miana is an aspiring scholar, naturalist, and journalist from San Diego, CA. He passionately writes environmental poetry and short fiction, illustrating scenes from coastal sunsets to emerald forests. When off-campus, he can be found hiking the local trails and taking in the Socal sunshine. In addition to Tiny Seed, his work can be read at The Mustang Journal, a small, independent journal he founded with his schoolmates.