Vast dunes of fine, powder snow dot the shore. A blinding sun shines, and a brisk wind blows in from the ocean. Held in a perpetual winter, temperatures in Espen Strande never rise high enough to melt off the continually amassing ice crystals.
Divers are hired specifically to keep the harbor from icing over. Protected by thermal dry suits, they chip away ice as it forms on marine pilings and pier stanchions. Private charter captains hire their own crews to keep the sailboats free of crust. Despite the cold, they still need to make a living.
The only part of the world to have a winter, Espen Strande is a popular vacation spot. Summer travelers come to escape the heat, Spring tourists want the snow sports experience, and Autumn visitors just want the hot toddies and buttered rum.
What all the other Seasons can’t understand, is why anyone would choose to live, year-round, in Winter. They don’t see the advantages to dwelling in a constant deep freeze, but they love that there is a resident staff to attend to their every wish while they holiday there.
What all the other Seasons also don’t know is that the Winters not only take their cold hard cash, but also their cold hard emotions.
Visitors return home bereft of irritation and pensiveness, but those are balanced by resigning claim to curiosity and concern. They unpack fury, despair, terror and revulsion. They are fearful and insecure. They rationalize that the downturn in their emotional well-being is actually disappointment in returning to the drudgery of their humdrum, daily lives after a relaxing and enjoyable vacation.
The Winter people need those cold instincts to maintain their natural world of azure and indigo, jade and turquoise, amethyst and lavender. They leach the cold out of the other Seasons without shedding a single drop of warm blood.