The day had been a long one, with hardly enough time to scratch the surface of the long list of tasks the woman had jotted down at the start of the day on an old piece of wrinkled parchment.
But this was par for the course.
And it was cold.
What was she to do, she thought, about the days coming to their end far too quickly?
So very quickly.
And too dark.
It was enough to wring the aliveness out of anyone.
The woman took a moment to train her mind. She tossed her task-filled parchment into the fire, then stole out into the darkness. She whispered to the trees; perhaps she could wake dryads. She let her boot-clad toe break the surface of the river, humming and willing water sprites to spring forth. Then she spread her arms and whirled about until snow began to fall in soft gentle flakes against her cheeks.
When the woman returned home, she made herself a cup of spiced tea.
There was more winter still to come, but she had turned herself to greet it like an old friend.
And that was task enough for one day.