Chapter to Chapter: A Fable of Spring
Chapter to Chapter
By Christopher Collins
Title: A Fable of Spring
It was a warm Spring day. The sun was shining far above the fields and the streets, the lakes and the buildings, the forests and the parks. The beams weren’t the cruel, unforgiving arrows of pain that pierce the soul in late August or those that burn like scalding water through the clothes in mid-September. No, these sunbeams were different, the warm, energizing waves of energy that make for easy breathing after a particularly long winter had completed its unrelenting barrage. And the winter had indeed been difficult, making those without necessities feel the burden of fate and even those able to makes ends meet wonder if the bitter months would rob them of whatever surplus they had managed to accumulate. Yes, it was a winter that had made most people celebrate its exit. There had been a few who had claimed that winter had not come at all, those, living in especially insulated homes, homes with numerous fireplaces and cords and cords of wood, those who dressed in furs and luxurious jackets, often bought with funds carefully taken from and primarily earned by the neighbors across town. No, the warm didn’t notice the cold and often mocked those who shivered from its winds. Nonetheless, Spring arrived, its own presence welcome and urged by one or two of the warm who realized that some people needed to see the sun. It was as if the sun listened and shone upon all. And even those who had maintained warmth enjoyed the sun, removing coats, and relaxing by pools, taking long drives by the beach, hosting dinner parties on yachts. But the others didn’t mind. They enjoyed the warmth, too, camping by the rivers, hiking the mountains, taking road trips to see beloved relatives. Most people felt the warmth. No, all people felt the warmth. It’s just that some resented that the cold had been displaced.
Some, sadly, many people didn’t enjoy the warmth, not because it didn’t feel good, but because the images of others frolicking and laughing, growing independent and happy meant that cold could not be used to make people understand their own limitations. Some people, some sad-hearted people, had devoted their every breath to making it known the people don’t deserve to be happy, that their very peace of mind is based upon the lie that the sun is warm. Those who missed the cold stood in classrooms and declared that the sun’s warmth was unnatural, that cold was better, that those camping and hiking were selfish. Never did they mention those hosting parties on yachts, for they were often their very guests. Not only did they proclaim their message from the classrooms, but they shouted on TV, wrote blogs, posted on social media. The crimes of the average woman and man were too great for the sun to shine upon them. Something had to change.
A few listened, especially those captive in the classrooms and those in bondage to the phones that controlled their hands. However, most lived their lives, finally enjoying the sunshine they had missed for many long months. A bitter divide grew between the happy and the angry. But people lived. Many of the angry lived, too, angry ultimately at the sun for daring to shine, yet taking full advantage of its life-giving beams. Gradually, those who stirred the first hatred, those who lost the ability to control the former victims of winter, knew that they were losing the battle. They had no choice. The happiness, the freedom was too disgusting. They cranked up thousands and thousands of factories to full capacity, inciting their minions to shovel so much coal and other substances that the skies began filling with soot. It was everywhere. In a matter of hours, everyone began to notice that the sun was being blocked, the sun that was still there, the sun that still stood as a symbol of the Spring that it STILL was, was growing dim. The temperature dropped. Darkness fell. It all seemed bleaker than the winter that they had barely survived. Sadness swept the nation.
Not knowing what to do, people tried to help each other, doing what was asked of them, delivering fire wood, baking meals, trying to bring light to a darkening world. Those in power urged then to move slowly, to be careful. The people complied. They were fearful for themselves, for their families, for their neighbors. They did their best, but they missed the sun, the barbecues, the fresh air.
Then, in a move that shocked those in power, a few brave souls erected huge fans to blow away the smoke, to force the soot from various spots. They were stopped in many places, places that embraced the familiar darkness, but enough people began to see the sun again that they lifted their arms to feel its warmth. Sadly, broken chains don’t always please those wanting bondage to be the norm. To them, sunlight is not welcome. In fact, it’s dangerous, not to those dancing in its warmth, but to those who profit from the cold.
The fans were too much, the expected antidote to the constant shovel work of the factories. Twice as many laborers were hired to keep the fires stoked, to bring as many new bellows of darkness as possible. And when that was not enough, the factories themselves started exploding. One section at a time went up in flames. Nearby buildings felt the flames, too, and even caught fire. More stoking and more explosions started sending the darkening clouds into the areas that the fans had cleared.
And then the unthinkable happened. Those who had denounced the sun in the classrooms and on the street corners had struck a nerve with the people who had already fallen into despair. They piled upon those who were missing the sunlight, telling them that they themselves were responsible for the darkness, that their desire to have warmth and light, caused the factories to burn and the sky to further darken. They hit them hard, using everything at their disposal, the jobs, their entertainment, their finances, their fears, and even their own children. The message was unified—"The sun is bad, the cold is good, the darkness is yours to own, and you deserve your agony.”
Perhaps, the message was meant to urge people to lead others into the sun. At least a few of the haranguers may have shared that motivation. Perhaps, the message was intended to make the sun-dwellers give up the dream of warmth and embrace the cold. Perhaps, the message was to discredit the sun as an evil source that gives too much warmth to some and not enough to others. Perhaps, people just wanted to rule. Whatever the reasons, it didn’t matter.
The results are what mattered. Those who loved the sun, who enjoyed its warmth began to bask in their guilt over the former pleasure. After having been told over and over and over how horrible they were, they gave up trying to argue. They accepted that they were to blame for too much joy, that they loved too much, tried too hard, worked too much. And they stopped. They didn’t change. Change was impossible at that point. When life is beaten out of souls, there is nothing worth living for. Instead they stopped, and they died. And as a result, it wasn’t just their own death. Their suicide was not a sweet victory for those who had made a career of screaming. The suicide took down not only the sun-lovers, but their children, who whether or not they accepted it, were dependent upon them, their economies, their institutions, their principles, and their very culture. The very sun that gave life to those who danced in its glow witnessed the dance stop and all life follow to death. Before they could realize what had happened, the bellowers, the haters, and the screamers found themselves in the spiral of oblivion as well, also in need of the sun-dancers, but unwilling to admit it to their dying breaths.
A few sun-gazers survived, those who found pockets of warmth, who refused to listen to the drumbeat of hatred, who refused to accept any self-guilt for merely breathing, living, and loving. They survived, unburdened from the pain of the cold, breathing the air of the clearing skies, and forever, free from the cries of the accusers.
Mass suicide was not an option for them. They loved each other too much. They loved their children too much. They loved life too much to accept lies.