It's not supposed to get cold on the coast. Not really. Not in the Grimm's fairytale way of the stories from childhood, with lavishly detailed illustrations that hinted more at terror and chill and shadow than did the watered-down words alongside.
So it was a reckoning to wake u(more)p and realize the storm of the night before had rendered me housebound. The island's dirt roads had vanished under snowdrifts. Along the shore, the sea lapped at snow, making the edges a curdled gray.
'This is what you get,' Nature was saying.
'You can't linger all year on a summer island.'
Those old stories. About being lost. About dying mothers who can't protect you anymore, witches happy to not render assistance, quests through cold forests with blade-mouthed wolves closing in for a feast, baring wolf-grins because human naivete adds spice to flesh.
'Leave when summer leaves. Leave with happy people.' My island enunciates its warning with this leaden snow.
Yet in those stories they find what they are looking for, those children. Maybe that is where some of the reader's horror comes from. The knowledge that despite the terrors, whatever triumph the characters are looking for waits for them as irrevocably as gold in a hidden treasure chest.
Whereas outside the stories, here in the world, you're left to flutter grimly like an unlashed sail. Promised nothing, and never sure of being on the right track. Certainly no rewards, once making it through the forest. After any small triumph you might even find yourself rewarded with a deeper, colder woods to navigate.
Children can read between the lines of such stories and some become writers who remember what they saw there.
My worldview is the clear patch I've rubbed on the windowpane.
'It is winter.' The island breathes. 'You're not welcome.'(less)