Thursday, April 20, 2017

Spring Thing

BK photo, taken on Easter
Spring began today.  Sure, the calendar says it's been spring for a month.  But in the places I've lived before, in PA and New England and the Midwest--there's been this transitional period, the thaw, the weeks of cloudiness and rain.  But spring, that begins with sunshine and warmth.

Here on the North Coast of CA, it's not the first time that we've had some sun to spell the waterlogged week.  But today felt different.  And even though next week looks rainy again, there was little more feeling of future frequency in the sunshine.

You could see spring in the annual appearance of the California poppies, or the profusion of calla lilies (not as tall yet as they were a few years ago, but the flowers are bigger, some the size of saucers, if you remember saucers.)  I'd feared for the ferns in the front of the house--while some were growing near the walls elsewhere, they'd disappeared entirely from the area in front of the picture window.  But once they started coming back, they kept on coming.  On the sheltered side they're as wild and profuse as ever.

The hardwood trees are greened up, and even the old linden is leafing earlier than usual.

But it's not just the plant life.  Today in the remains of Shay Park I came upon a group of young humans, which included an electric guitarist and drummer making some spacey yet woodsy sounds.   Elsewhere I saw more, their walk expressing a certain familiar restless buoyancy.

I recalled the brilliant but very short springs in Galesburg, Illinois where I went to college.  After a heartlessly long and brutal winter slid into a chilly, murky and rainy pre-spring,  it all changed, seemingly in one day.  The air was warm and as soft as it ever got there.  Everything was a sudden sunlit green--grass, hedges, bushes and trees in a green embrace-- under an amazing sky.

This sort of spring lasted only a few weeks, maybe a month, before the debilitating summer heat muscled in and became a dominating and depressing overseer for the next several months.

The tragedy of that one spring month was that we were nearing the end of the school year, and this fantastic May was filled with final papers and final exams.  As well as the anxieties for the onrushing summer, when environs, relationships, status and even selves would abruptly change. These days of grandeur were too often only glimpsed through distracted, frustrated and worried eyes.

With the sap rising in more than the trees, we hurtled ourselves into heated parties at night.  And so the bright days became even more hazy and distant, a few startling snapshots amidst the apotheosis and wreckage of the school year.

All among the layers of memories now, while I walk with different challenges in a different place in a different spring.  But those springs are present, too.

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