One bitterly cold February evening when I was child, I asked my mother as she was putting me to bed why winter was so harsh. She smiled, tucked the thick blankets under my chin (we turned the thermostat down low in the evening to save money), and asked, “Would you like to hear a story my uncle told me many years ago, when I was a child, a story of how winter began?” Yes, I said.
“Do you know the four elements?” she asked, and I replied that I did — earth, air, water, and fire.
“Which of these are the most powerful?” she asked me. I told her I was not sure, and she smiled. “Well, if you were to ask the elements which was the most powerful, you would get the same reply from each — It is I, of course,” my mother said, lowering her tone and lifting her hand in imitation of the elemental voices.