Our village is overhung by the forest, the mountain a spiteful mother at our backs.
For generations the coming of warm weather would prod us from our nests of furs. We’d pick and pickle, cut hay, fill larders and log stores. Ready ourselves.
The cold was always hard when it came. People died, but only those buffeted by years, stripped clean by illness.
Then one year the snow lingered, soft grey ghosts of winter hiding in the shadows. Children scuffed the drifts with their boots, prodded them with sticks before moving on to other quarries.
Each summer those ‘ghosts’ retreated less, were harder to ignore.
This year there was no hay. The ground is too hard to cut even for the smallest grave and the saplings dwindle and die through an endless winter.
Summer haunts my dreams.