Where aaaare ya!
Come the cries from the terraces.
A week it’s been, since the clocks went forward. A week that should’ve seen the city spring to life, seen crowds thronging outside pubs in just-ordered garms waiting neatly folded by the door for this very moment. The jasmine should’ve been sneaking out in some form by now. The magnolia surveying all from a gently swaying branch.
Instead, we’re inside, three jumpers on, having meltdowns. The magnolia coats the floors of dank wet pavements, floating sadly in puddles from rain that won’t stop falling, the Big Man in the sky is having an especially early April Fools. Everyone is in a mood.
Spring is just not happening.
I’m losing my fucking mind, comes the text. It’s Friday morning, a downpour. Greg is at the end of his tether.
Adding insult to injury, BT decide to peddle some seasonal deals.
Sitting here writing this as the droplets drum methodically against the window and I spy a forecast of rain until at least Tuesday, I think thank God I’m getting out of here. Forsaking this spring that won’t appear, heading across the ocean to an autumn on the pampa. Sure to be warmer and dryer and more alive, even as around me everything begins to die. Easter with my old man, who feels felíz he says, but whose moods are as changeable as that other thing on the horizon.
In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four-and-twenty hours.
2023 has been a weird one, my winter was remarkably joyful. I didn’t suffer at all. So spring means somehow less this year, it doesn’t feel like a saving grace. I am in no need of saving this year.
As the clocks went back in November I wrote about a mini depression I’d succumbed to, about the futility of SAD lamps and channeling a stiff upper lip. In some sense I’d managed to get it out the way before Christmas. So the drudgery of January and February was totally painless.
Friends didn’t have the same experience. Some were going through deep grief, almost all overloaded by crying infants, nappy changes, dark afternoons, big life decisions, everyone seemed to have had a rough one this year. In some sense spring has a duty to us, to rouse life into us, just as it does the earth.
Spring is sooner recognized by plants than by men.
There have been glimpses of something.
On Monday on the way to M&S, the blossom moved prettily in the breeze. The fairweather cyclists were out in force. A crowd congregated around the evangelical Christian stand chatting about the Lord. The guy who’d worn shorts and a tee through the whole winter was still wearing shorts and a tee.
It was close to 8pm and still light.
This was change.
And change was bad. I was doing fine. I didn’t need this crap. How dare my emotions be dictated to me by something as evanescent and predictable as a season. I was enjoying my padded Columbia jacket and my fluorescent pink beanie, the one that made me look like a twelve year old emo. I didn’t want change. Who knew what change might bring.
Maria the lady sat outside M&S gave me a smile that made me want to fold in two, told me about her three children. Grazie, she kept saying. And then a cloud moved across the sky and the temperature plummeted. Still, a soupçon of something. A faint whisper. It’s always darkest before the dawn, said Stan, the only upbeat thing I’d heard all week.
Perhaps we just don’t like waiting for things.
I remember once in the desert of New Mexico cycling for eight hours straight through the night into the dawn, as it morphed from jet black to a dazzling day, and as I moved through the landscape it became clear to me for the first time that the sky doesn’t move around us, we move around the sky. I literally saw the planet turning in slow-motion.
March 20th marked the spring equinox, the first time the sun’s direct rays cross the earth’s equator into the Northern Hemisphere. My experience of the earth moving slowly around as it held me, suggested the idea that seasons aren’t just appearing for us, we are actually coming into them. And that means physiological change, not just outside, but within us.
No wonder spring gets us so amped.
Of course everything is blooming most recklessly: if it were voices instead of colours, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.
Rainer Maria Rilke
When we are young, the days are short and the years are long, in the autumn of our lives there is a shift, the days are long and the years are short. The older we get, the more we need it. When I was young I liked the autumn, wrote Borges, in my old age spring is what I live for.
Earlier this week, the sun crept out from behind a cloud and poured through the flat. Enthusiasm means to be filled with God’s spirit. I walked back from the station and thought, spring makes a tune through your earphones take on a divine importance. Just the sun’s warmth peering out from behind a cloud makes your body explode all over with a fizzing.
Spring’s message is simply this.
We can get through things.
Without the sour the sweet would not be so sweet. What would a life of constant 21 degree weather be. Temperate countries have a hard nut to crack. Why do anything when you get hardpound UV injection all year round.
I changed No.7 on my blackboard.
Dunno why, made sense.
To go towards what really scares us and get past that, that is where the treasure lies. The treasure in question is just around the corner. It might be shitting with rain right now, but it can’t go on forever. To make matters worse, a girl I was trying to work some magic on blows me off by text this afternoon in a somewhat brutal way. Maybe I was overthinking it, but today I feel worse than I have in months.
I might need spring more than I thought.
George said it best.
Here Comes The Sun It’s Alright.
Swallowing my wallowing bullshit pride, I went out into the wet, sat outside my local with a pint of the good stuff and some bacon fries. Soaked in the last of the winter rain.
There it is, biding its time.
But it is on the way.