I intend to write something every day in the month of November. To help me do so, I’m following along with a writing prompt for myths. See my first Writing Myths post for more details. For this post, I have to —
Write a myth to explain why the leaves change color.
Back in the day, man and nature were in tune with each other. Man could talk to the trees and animals and understand them and be understood. But the war of the gods shook that relationship and upset the balance of the world creating seasons, which reflected the ever shifting state of man’s relationship with the creatures with whom he shares the world.
Now, before the war, the weather was always pleasant. It was not too hot or cold. It was just right. The plants were always in bloom and never changed color, it rained just enough for the flowers to grow, and there was no such thing as snow. All things were in harmony and the weather reflected that. But the first change in the weather after the war surprised all the creatures, including man.
It occurred gradually. The earth slowly began to heat until it became nearly unbearable. And plants soaked up the abundance of sunlight until they bloomed brighter than they’ve ever done. Some became so bright that their colors hurt the eyes of whoever looked upon them. Others grew and ripened until they split, their contents spilling out, or soaked up so much sun that they began to wilt. As for the humans, they got so hot that they constantly bathed, sometimes spending the majority of the day around a shallow pool.
But again the weather began to change, seguing into a cooler climate. And as the world did so and the sun visited less frequently, the verdant colors in the plants’ leaves slowly began to drain away and soon the leaves began to crumple and fold in on themselves but still clung tight to their trees. The humans were affected too. As the sun spent more time hiding behind the clouds, the humans sought ways to keep warm. Obviously getting wet was considered folly as the gentle winds became fierce and carried a sharp, icy bite in them so the humans bathed less until they stopped.
As the first snow began to fall, the humans became desperate for warmth and a cruel man among them named Bob suggested they hunt the animals for their warm fur since they seemed unaffected by the cold. They did so, running out into the cold from their caves, hollering fierce cries as they hunted the animals, and carrying the stink of their unwashed bodies with them. The stink was so overwhelming that the wilted leaves began to fall from the trees until all the branches were bare.
Man’s desperation for warmth, as well as their stink, further upset the balance of the world, which is why winter is so barren. Seeing this, the sun felt guilty for hiding in the clouds and decided to show itself more in hopes that the relationship between man and the creatures with whom he shares the world will be healed. The weather also started to change. As the world got warmer, man bathed more and hunted less so the remaining animals began to multiply. And the trees and plants sprouted new leaves, softer in hue than they’ve ever been, which astonished everyone.
For a time, all seemed balanced again. But of course, the weather changed and it all occurred again: the animals died and the leaves changed color and fell as humans stopped bathing.