Winter Blues - Fiction

We're excited to share the stories that have been submitted for our Holiday edition of the Writes of Winter contest! We received nine submissions:

Winter Light Show - Geoff Parker

(Photo by Unsplash)

Winter Light Show
By Geoff Parker

First light in deep December
is never in a rush to illuminate
our city, here in the valley of the Red Deer River.
It is patient, seemingly content to snooze
just a bit longer.
Eventually, it rewards me
when it creeps over the Balmoral Hills
creating a surreal morning mural.
Hues of pink and purple slowly spread
across the horizon.
The pallet intensifies revealing a jaw-dropping swath
of fiery orange and red.
A soul warming spectacle
even on the most frigid of mornings.

Heartened by this brief but scintillating
celestial show,
I join my wife and Labrador
for our daily walk on the escarpment trails.
Despite its low position in the sky,
the sun offers valiant rays and beams
that intertwine with the branches of
still pines and slumbering aspens.
These slanted gifts of light dance and play
creating a stunning display
with a local soundtrack - the cries and calls of
magpies, chickadees and downies.

I cherish the gift of winter light,
short lived but mighty.
It keeps the cold at bay.
It whispers promises of spring.
It brings me simple and constant joy.

And on long, dark winter nights,
comforted by a crackling fire,
I don’t curse the cold…
I anticipate the magic of another morning mural.

When Christmas Has Changed
Written by A. Rose

Christmas has changed, she thought. Closing the door as softly as possible, and tip-toeing with unfortunate loudness across the snow packed porch she took a moment to look up into the deep blue of the pre-dawn light. One star, or perhaps it was just the planet Venus, constituted the last light remaining in the night sky.

“I don’t know why I came here.” Transferring a small bag from her right hand to the crook of her left elbow, she gave up on silence and took determined steps out to her car. The grim reality of a good five minutes of scraping frost from the windows stood before her, putting a severe wrench in her desire for a quick and silent exit.

Wincing at the way the car’s engine roaring to life absolutely shattered the peace and silence of the morning, she tossed her bag in the passenger seat and grabbed her scraper. With the loss of stealth came the desire for speed.

“Where are you going?!” he shouts from the porch.

She remains silent, trusting that the sound of frost being forcibly peeled away from glass is a plausible enough excuse for not having heard the question. She scrapes faster.

“I said, where are you going?!” He's about twenty feet away now, and his boots are crunching loudly in the snow. This second shout is impossible to ignore, so she replies.

“Home.” The question has nothing to do with a where, and everything to do with a why. She makes her way to the back of the car and attends the rear window. She considered abandoning it altogether, but there is danger in not being able to see where you’ve been.

“It’s Christmas day.” It isn’t a question, or a comment, but an accusation: how dare she leave.

“I am aware.” Her heart drums at three times its normal pace, she can hear it in her eyes. Three more scrapes will have her in the driver’s seat and out of here.

“You ungrateful little shit, just taking the presents and running. That’s all you ever cared about.”

The last scrape brings her heart, and her bile, into her throat. She opens the passenger door and in one swift movement has exchanged the scraper for the plastic bag. She steps over to him and puts the bag of items that only yesterday had been addressed to her into his hands.

“There you go.” She gets in and slams the door shut a little too hard.

“Sorry, car, it’s not your fault.” She pats the dash board a few times before swiftly putting the car into reverse and backing away.

Christmas has changed, she thinks again. Ever since mom died, the magic is gone. So this is what it’s like to be an orphan. A few tears stream down her face in mourning for what has been lost. She’ll call up a friend later, but for now she just has to feel it.

Photo by Anastasiia Tarasova on Unsplash

The Peace of a Winter Morning with a Dog

by Shari Komm

I rise early to start my day by enjoying the peace of the winter morning in Red Deer. It’s dark and cold so I layer up my jackets, put on a head lamp and the dog’s winter jacket. Off we go listening to only the crunch of the snow beneath our feet as we head to the city pathway. I’m sure I see new stars if it’s a clear morning, as they seem even brighter at this peaceful time of day.

The air is fresh and clean as I take a cleansing breath in and watch the exhale out meet the cold air in its fog of release. So peaceful that awareness comes alive in me and I embrace all the sensations around me. The dog is also aware, of the distant sounds, the enjoyment the sniffing of new smells, and running to the end of her leash.

If its a snowing, the morning is even brighter and quieter. No need for a head lamp as the cloud cover reflects the city lights back to the snow and illuminates the path. Each snowflake falling peacefully from the sky is a beautiful creation, as they cover the dog, I am in awe once again, that no two flakes are alike.

Whether it is a clear day or a snowy one, I am filled with gratitude that I am out on this cold winter morning in Red Deer, to enjoy the peace of a winter morning with my dog.

© 2024 Red Deer Arts Council — Literary, Performing, Visual | Log in | Website by EDGE Marketing & Design Inc.