Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A New England-style reward

One great reward of living in New England is a day like today.

Actually, we've had a four-day stretch of gorgeous weather. The mornings have been cool, in the 40s. I wear a light coat as I wait at the bus stop. Activity has picked up. People, like hibernating bears, have emerged from their wintertime cubbyholes and are embracing the weather. They stroll the streets, looking inside store windows. A group of older men mill outside the Dunkin' Donuts on the corner, sipping iced coffee (a sure sign of spring right there) and watching the pedestrians and cars go by. Suddenly, you feel as if you have a moment to pause, slow down, and take a look around.

On my walk home, I pass the town green. Children are out in droves, swinging, jumping, hurdling, climbing, falling. Teenage boys in baggy shorts and sleeveless undershirts shoot baskets on the court as a flock of girls standing courtside eye them. The breeze is soft and soothing. The large American flag waves lazily in the gentle breeze. The door to the corner bakery is open, and I can smell the beginnings of what will be tomorrow's bread. An older woman is picking at her garden at one house. Wood is burning in a pit a few houses down. Yesterday evening, I smelled meat on a grill as I was running, and I nearly drooled on myself.

Other signs:
  • I got my first mosquito bite.
  • I sweated this evening as I washed the dishes – the first time that's happened since last summer.
  • I'm not obsessed with checking the water temperature before I take a shower.
  • I've begun sneezing
I noticed leaves on our Japanese maple. They're runts for now, limp, soft and fragile. They seem vulnerable, but they'll grow swiftly, and I won't need to worry about them. The pink flowers already have begun falling from the Japanese cherry tree, yet little green leaves have sprung in their place. The grass is green and full. I need to mow.

I guess I'm so interested in chronicling spring because it is fleeting. Every day bring a change. Maybe a little one, like a new shoot bursting from the ground. Or the budding of a row of flowers, one, two, three as they make their appearance on nature's stage. Or birds with mouthfuls of twigs flitting back and forth, building their seasonal home.

And soon, very soon, spring will yield to summer. The long, hot summer, where life is exuberant but a little bleached.

Right now, everything is fresh and new. I like it that way.

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