2010-05-19 / Columns

Spring and all its flowery glory has arrived to warm our souls


I tasted spring today. Not a dainty taste, you can be sure. More a voracious gulp.

Like a prisoner let out of solitary confinement, I rushed outdoors to celebrate my liberation from overheated rooms, end-ofwinter clutter and the dark and heavy weight of the winter of 2009-2010.

I wanted to shout out my joy at seeing sunshine and feeling soft breezes. I wanted to hug the grass, the bushes, the budding trees— but there are neighbors who might not understand. So instead, I sedately pulled a lounge chair onto the deck and plugged in the primitive old portable radio that has seen me through long winter days and nights. I set the dial to the golden oldies station, and sang (quietly) along with the music.

And I tried to figure out why this spring felt more delicious— and more bittersweet—than so many others.

Iraq and Afghanistan, of course, are still nipping at our psyches. It is slightly bizarre to sit on a suburban deck in my beloved country, and to know that out there in the desert, Americans are fair game for sandstorms, bombs and ambushes.

The seasons probably won’t matter much to those parents and wives and husbands and children and lovers who wait and wait and wait some more for their loved ones to come home. Not even the finest spring day can make that easier.

But it’s been a rough year for others reasons, too. The tumultuous economy, unemployment, and yes, that snow and rain. How never-ending it all felt. And how we all needed that first burst of the Miss Congeniality of seasons.

Everyone I talk to lately seems to feel the same exhilaration that lovely spring is teasing us at last with these seductive days. I’ll probably rue the moment I rushed out and planted flowers in the little patch of earth outside our bedroom window because my skill with growing things is non-existent. But it was spring—and I had to.

Blame spring, the eternal child that lurks in all of us. Blame its freedom and playfulness and release.

Spring is riding a bike again when you’re shocked that you remember how, and eating salads for dinner instead of meatloaf, and deciding on a Sunday afternoon to jump into the car and just drive.

Spring is singing in the shower, walking around the neighborhood smiling at strangers, dancing with someone you love in the kitchen.

It’s a messy scoop of ice cream that won’t quite fit into its sugary cone. Spring is the foolish belief that you’ll finally shed those five pounds that have clung to you like an old friend, and that you’ll really, truly start an aerobics regime.

I wear dangly gold earrings in spring that I’d never wear in any other season. I always think about cutting my hair into some wild asymmetrical style, and luckily usually come to my senses.

I always think about bringing home a puppy in spring, even though I know, at some deep and rational level, that the best time for a puppy in our lives has come and gone.

And on a fine spring day when I should be doing more responsible things, I often steer the car to Long Beach Island for a preview of what’s coming before the mobs descend. I tell myself that the car found its way there with no help from me as I ignore deadlines and real life for one long, delicious day.

Because most of all, spring is hope.

That life itself will burst into bloom. That winter’s scars will heal.

That the sun will smile down on us in real and symbolic ways.

So bring it on in all its glory.

Sooner rather than later. .

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