The Truth About Autumn – A Short Story
Once upon a time, there was a mother and a father. Earth as we know it was very different then. It was always green, full of life, and each day was 72˚ with a light breeze and cloudless blue skies. The days were as beautiful as the mother. Time flowed a rate that was neither slow nor fast. Kind of like when you are in a perfectly wonderful moment and time is neither standing still nor advancing. It was as calm and patient as the father. That was how everyday was in the lives of the mother and father was. As their love for one another grew so did their children which numbered 4. They had one son and three beautiful daughters. Jack, Summer, Autumn know as “Cae”(which will be explained later), and Vera.
Jack was the first born son, he was tall, athletic, and had hair as white as snow. His skin was pale but not in a sickly way. He was fun and was always looking for new jokes and adventures. Summer was the oldest daughter. She was a blonde slender beauty with skin that was naturally sun kissed and a complexion as clear as those cloudless skies. Vera was the baby and the shortest of all the siblings. She had a pure and gentle spirit that breathed life into those around her. Her smile was subtle, and though she was not as stunning as Summer her beauty was undeniable. But this story is about Autumn and how she became Cae and then became Autumn again.
Cae was born snugly between Summer and Vera and as a result was often overlooked; but not for lack of love from her parents for they loved each of them equally. It was rather a normal result of birth order. Cae was born third and so she was the baby for only short time before Vera came along. Summer and Jack were the oldest brother and sister and therefore were always entrusted with the “adult” responsibilities. Cae did not mind this though. She had a free, wandering spirit and she was perhaps the most unique of all the siblings.
Cae was born with hair. Now most babies are born with hair, but Cae with born with brilliant red hair that that was as long as she was. In fact, it was so long that reached way down passed her toes. As a baby, her parents would swaddle her in the red strands that flowed down from her head. She did not have the clear complexion of her siblings. Her skin was specked with the tiny brown dots that we know as freckles. She was a spunky ambitious girl who spent most of her time gallivanting around the forest while Jack and Summer kept to their responsibilities and Vera tended to her pet rabbits or picked flowers.
By now you are wandering why Autumn was called Cae. It was because of her long hair. Because it was so long she learned to walk a little slower than her other siblings. If her hair was down, she could only take a few steps before becoming tangled up in it and falling. When it was up she would become top heavy and topple over in the same way a baby does whose head is still to big for it’s body. Jack being full of fun began to call her Cae, which means “to fall”. He did not joke with hurtful intentions but in a gentle way that made Autumn now “Cae” smile and try even harder. By the time Cae learned to walk she could already run and even dance. That was the easiest way for her to learn because her hair would trail behind her and her feet were free to move with out becoming tangled.
As the children grew older each one enjoyed different parts of the world. Jack spent most of his time climbing the tallest peaks only to find another just on the horizon. Summer spent her time down on the beach letting the waves lap at her dangling toes. Vera loved the meadows which were full of life and full of flowers. We will get to Cae in just a moment.
The earth loved the children and celebrated their birthdays with lengthy parties. On Jack’s birthday the weather would grow cold and white fluff would cover the ground so Jack could make snowballs and slide down the mountains that he loved so much. As it grew closer to Vera’s birthday the earth would warm and the birds would sing with delight. Summer’s birthday was celebrated with warmth and refreshing breezes. And when it was Cae’s birthday…
Cae spent most of her time making friends with the forest. She would dance with the trees and twirl in the breezes that they made. She knew each tree by name and spoke with them regularly but the trees did not call her Cae.
When she first entered the forest a tall maple asked “What’s your name dear?” “They call me Cae” she replied. “Oh no dear, you are much too pretty to be known as fall. What’s your real name?” said the old wise oak. “It’s Autumn” she replied. “Autumn…” Said the trees simultaneously with much admiration. “That’s much more fitting”. And so Cae was known as Autumn by the trees.
After celebrating Summer’s birthday Autumn, once known as “Cae”, would start her trip back to her beloved forest. Her birthday was just around the bend and she could not wait to celebrate. As you can imagine, it was the most festive of all the birthdays and was full of life and color.
The trees on the mountain tops where always the first to see her returning and all but the evergreens would dress up in the most wonderful hues of red, orange, and yellow. Autumn could see them from the distance and it thrilled her heart to no end. As news of Autumns return spread down to the valley, the other trees would put on their colors and celebrate as well. The party lasted for days and just as the trees on the mountains were the first to start celebrating they were also the first to stop. Their brilliant colors would fall off as their eyes grew heavy and tired.
By the time that Autumns birthday celebration was over all but the evergreens were asleep and it was time to celebrate Jacks birthday again.
And thus, Father Time and Mother Earth made the four seasons. We know Jack as Jack Frost or Old Man Winter, Vera as Primavera or Spring, and Summer as Summer. More importantly we know Cae which we call “Fall” as the more appropriate…Autumn.