Friday, April 14, 2006

It's spring

Spring isn't a date on the calendar, of course. Spring is an attitude, a way of being that predates the written word and the written date. Spring is the killer of winter, the mother of summer. It's a time of sexual and reproductive energy, when everything has an opportunity to start all over again.

Here at my abode on Lake Michigan, spiders seem to be the harbingers of spring. There are nearly a dozen on my bedroom windows, and at least seven on one of my living room windows. They vary in size from tiny to large (for a garden-variety species). They seem to favor a northern exposure, for I never find them on the east-facing living room windows. I suppose they could simply prefer the view of the Shoreland and the lighthouse at Navy Pier, or they like to watch the rush-hour traffic as rounds the bend near 53rd Street. (There's also the possibility the northern exposure offers better dining opportunities.)

Last Friday was far from spring-like. Overnight, it was very windy and close to freezing. Apparently, my neighbor went away and left a window open; when I walked past his door, I could feel frigid air flowing under it out into the hallway. Friday evening, and later that night, the temperature in my bedroom dropped. I had to report it to the manager, as Saturday remained cold. Jim and I had dinner at Medici's and tried to walk some of the calories off, but we were underdressed for the temperature. It warmed up during the week; by Thursday it was 80ºF.

I've been watching the trees for buds. Last weekend, I thought I saw some early signs, but couldn't be sure. On Wednesday, I saw one or two early bloomers. On Thursday, I was too sick to go to work or even to get dressed and go for a short walk. I felt better this morning, so I went to work. The moment I walked out the front door, I was struck by how many trees had greened. Those to the east of Montgomery Place must be pioneers—it looks like they will be fully crowned within a week. Others are just starting. There will be a few holdouts, those that are also among the first to drop their leaves in fall. Today was another 80ºF day, so between the unseasonably hot temperature and the lengthening hours of daylight, the trees and flowering shrubs should be feeling their oats (so to speak).

To celebrate spring, I opened the last bar of Crabtree & Evelyn violet soap that I had. To give you an idea of how long I hold onto things, the pretty box these violets soaps had come in had a copyright date of 1982. 1982. My 21st year, and the beginning of the end of my University of Chicago career. Perhaps it was also the end of the spring of my life and the beginning of its summer, as now seems to be the beginning of its autumn.

Cold, dry, hot, humid, snowy, windy, wet, barren, then fecund. Ah, spring. I hope my sap never stops running.

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