On a very windy, snowy night, Heffanutt is standing by the window. There is a cold draft from it, and he tucks his warm blanket tighter around his body. There is absolutely nothing to see but white snowflakes whirling down from the sky, suddenly caught by the storm, racing past the window and falling to the ground. Heffanutt puts his warm paw onto the glass and carefully makes a small circle, melting one of the ice roses covering it. No, nothing, he can`t even see the forest. It is usually is so present with its huge old trees. Nothing but white snow.
A sudden crackling noise from the fireplace makes him turn around. A warm orange glow is lighting up the room. Ant King has lighted a fire and dragged their armchairs closer to the heat. A pleasant smell, a mix between burning wood and hot chocolate, haunts Heffanutts nose. He soon finds himself sitting in one of the chairs, holding a cup and sipping the warm drink.
Ant King is very quiet today, Heffanutt knows the sign. Ant King is thinking of something. A memory from the past has reached the surface and wants to be told. Ant King has been on many adventures before he met Heffanutt, adventures he keeps close to his heart and does not often share. Ant King takes a sip from the hot chocolate and looks into the cup just like there was something else there. A deep sigh, and he begins…..
“A long time ago, not long after I moved from the anthill, I was walking alone in the forest. Usually, I always met someone on my way, but this time was very different. I had noticed the changes during the last weeks, something I did not know was coming closer. There was less food to be found. At first, I thought it was the forest that changed, that if I only turned around I would find food in abundance to eat again. But it did not happen when I tried to go back to a place I remembered so vividly to be covered with tasty blueberries. Only a few dried ones were to be found. ”
“I continued my journey and found other things to eat. It was not so tasty and not in an abundance, but I survived for now. I walked towards the south, because I had read one time that it was colder in the north, but it did not help. The wind got colder by the day before it was a wonderful cooling breeze when the sun was too hot. Now it made me shiver every time it was windy, and it got worse. “
“I was not used to the darkness, even if the sun did not shine a couple of hours during the night, it never really got completely dark. Now the sun had changed its mind and rested more and more. Soon the night was as long as the day, and I was sure it had to turn around again, but no. The leaves turned yellow, orange and red, it was a beautiful sight, but with the ice-cold wind, they shifted to brown and fell to the ground. The trees stood chocked back, stripped from their wonderful clothes. “
“I too dreamed of more clothes, my coat was suddenly not enough. I shivered through the night and only when I started to walk during the day, I got my warmth back. In the early morning, grass and leafs started to make crackling sounds under my boots, it was covered with something cold and white. When I touched a leaf the white stuff melted to cold water and drops fell to the ground. The rivers where I used to drink got a hard surface along the river banks. It disappeared when the morning sun hit it. “
“I stumbled upon my last field of dried out blueberries. I did not know it was my last at the time so I only filled my pockets. Enough for the day. Thinking I probably would find some more the next day. That day the wind was even colder, I could not believe it was possible. It felt like it blewed right through my body, turning my bones to ice. Now and then I had to run or jump to feel a little bit of heat, but I soon got cold again.”
“I could sleep no more. I tried to hide from the howling wind under low hanging tree branches. But the wind found me, every time. Sometimes it sounded like a train, racing through the forest. I did not know what a train was, but it sounded exactly like that. Other times I thought it was a flock of wild horses with thundering hooves. “
“Suddenly I remembered something said in the anthill a long time ago when I was listening by the door. A job of cutting wood had to be done, so they could light a fire when the cold winter came. I did not think much of it then, but had winter arrived now? Was it the wind they called winter?”
To be continued