The morning is half gone, the golden light of dawn warming to the glow of mid-day. The sweet scent of flowers is filling the air with a heady fragrance, the ending of spring, and the coming now of summer, the summer of your life.

The next morning comes the same as the previous. The sun shines brightly, the birds sing, and a gentle breeze makes the trees whisper. You have awoken with the sun's fresh light feathering and caressing your face. The world is so beautiful, so pure and innocent, yet time seems to go by all too quickly for any deep and enduring enjoyment to be found. You live for the moment, enthralled in the young innocence of your delight at small things like the ever-rising sun, and the beauty of the world around you is needless to the blissful joy of inexperience.

Time passes. The green of late summer turns to vivid browns, oranges, and golds, and leaves fill the air with each gust of wind. The days become cooler, the nights colder, and finally one morning you awake to a layer of frost on the windowpanes. For your spring and your summer are gone by, and they will never be seen on earth again save in memory.

A cold, clear melodious clatter of running water comes dancing upon a crisp wind toward you. There is a chilly stream of water slipping merrily down from the hills and moving swiftly on down the slope of the mountain, and joining in the distance another river that shines silver in the rising dawn before flowing on into a fair, autumn forest.

It is a sad, sweet, lilting song that brings both joy and sorrow to your heart as you hear it, for it is a sign that winter approaches.

The day eventually comes for the first snowfall comes, soft, fresh snow. It coats the world in its cold loveliness, and you feel the amaranthine beauty of the snow envelop your soul. You long for the warmhearted splendor of your earlier, half-remembered summer.

Now the wind is bone-chillingly cold, but the skies are clear, and very little of the snow is powdery enough to billow and obscure vision. When you aren't crunching through the hard-packed snow, you're slipping on hidden patches of ice.

You are beyond tired, unable and unwilling to move. Your body is weakening, especially now, after so many seasons gone past. All that you have left is the faith of knowing deep inside your heart that heaven holds more than just some stars.

Then the last snows grudgingly surrenders to the sudden warmth of the sun, losing themselves in the thought of a new season. Spring again? It hardly seems possible. Winter should stretch on for months — for years — the sun cannot be shining so brightly, it is not possible. How has spring risen from the darkness, the cold bleakness of that winter?

Even in the slight breeze, wandering merrily across the open fields, cannot make you stir. The distant scents of gardens, of unripe fruits and of small greens peering out of rich dirt pass by you unnoticed. They continue on, unthinking, and are enveloped by the heavy scent of moss, of wet and dark, lost for all time.

A sound — a distant rumbling, almost musical, finally rouses you. It is faint, as though it has come across a great expanse. Perhaps even across time. Across time, yes, that's it. Thoughtful, somehow reluctant, you look about, taking in what you've sensed: the warmth of the sun, the flowers and the far-off gardens, even the sound — yes, most of all the sound. For a moment you feel the flicker of hope that what was old is beginning new again… Then breeze dies down; all is perfectly still, waiting, expectant.

You sigh, and slowly turn. You stroll wearily back through the trees, into the shadows, back to the heart of the forest. A chill settles about you, despite the joyous brightness of the sun above. The sun has lied; it is not spring. The winter will never end.

The path you take leads away from everything you have ever known, on a different path than that which you have ever taken. Yet well you know it, as it wends down and away into the silence of the night through the trees and toward a river that breaks at last through the trees, tumbling away down the valley and along a silver shoreline. The night air is cool on your face as you walk onward, deeper and deeper into the woods. The moon cast silver shadows through the summer foliage of the trees, shadows that dance in the breeze as if enticed by some kind of intoxicating rhythm. You feel refreshed, exhilarated, like you could run forever. You want to dance by the light of the moon, to forget all your earthly responsibilities. You want to stand in the rain simply because it is wet.

A warm, sweetly scented fragrance of late summer flowers wafts toward you from the high snow-tipped mountains to the east.

Beyond your sight, the soft whisper of a river continues on into the night, the bright stars washing the world below in joyful, silver light.