It happened suddenly and all at once. The stab and the thud of the first painful heartbeat. The tingling of her extremities as blood warmed and coursed through her veins. Flowed like the very river where she had lain, frozen, white and cold, her only blanket the golden and crisp fallen leaves of the season past. They clung desperately to her chilled skin, releasing only as the rash of goose flesh raced from her head to her toes. She wiggled them, one by one, until the stinging faded.
With eyes closed, she stretched, arched her back against the rocky riverbed, her dark locks floating around her face like a halo of the underworld. The ice cracked above her and she felt the steady trickle of water, stinging where it touched her translucent skin. She tilted her head into the water and the current rushed across her brow, the droplets of water erasing the dreams of winter and leaving her mind clear and focused.
She felt herself buck and leap from the icy depth of the river. Air swelled her deflated lungs, stretching and filling them as balloons and her chest began to ache with each heavy intake. With heavy limbs, she beat back against the rapids. Dirt and grit and debris filled her cupped hands as she struggled against the depths but she fought her way to the bank.
One hand reached out and clawed at the crumbling damp ground. The silt of the river beneath her nails shifted and released to make space for the warm earth that she clung to desperately. With each expanding breath, she pulled herself from the chilled winter water.
As her toes cleared the ice, as she lay against the warm, green grass, as her body absorbed the heat of the sun, its rays bright and blinding, her hair drying, her pulse increasing, she felt the corners of her mouth lift. She inhaled deeply the scent of the earth, the crispness of the greens, the sweetness of the buds. It was spring. And she had awakened.