March 30, 2012

Spring Air, and Blossoms

photo: raceytay

The spring air has been like a character in my life this week, like a messenger. It started to follow me first on Monday, a bright, cold, wind-whipping day. I trudged up a long tunnel of an avenue to get a bowl of spring soup: sweet peas and feathery dill tucked among dark, earthy mushrooms.

Twice this week, as I’ve been out and about after dark, coming home from an appointment or the drugstore, the air has felt nostalgic and a little out-of-season; I smelled a fire burning. It made the night seem snug and welcoming.

Wednesday night I walked home from the gym. I had been listening to the This American Life, “Switched at Birth,” and was feeling a little sad for it. Imagine being the mother who knew another woman had your baby. Imagine being the daughters who, after a lifetime of feeling out of place in small, needling ways, discover there’s a very big reason why.

And then I stepped outside. I was bracing myself for cold, maybe just out of habit. The air really felt like spring: warm, fragrant, sweet.

Every year I seem to forget how much I love New York in the spring. It’s the season when, after a dark winter of typing data about books in a gray cubicle, I walked up Sixth Avenue one March evening after work and realized the whole city was in bloom, trees flowering white up the wide street like an allée leading to a grand house. That particular walk ended at the Forever 21 at Herald Square, but the magic wasn’t lost on me.

There’s always a bit of discomfort for me as we come out of winter. I feel reluctant to bare arms; after a season of cocooned comfort, spring can feel exposing in a way I don’t always welcome. And I don’t mean physically––although that can be how the reticence manifests. I so relish the reflective turning-in of winter. Spring calls for coming out, for smiling bright, and reentering the social world; I don’t always feel ready. Some of you must know what I mean.

But then there will be a whiff of warm air and two heavy branches of cherry blossoms for sale at the florist for $7, taller than I am. I carried them home like a staff, and we slept under their pink blossoms these last two weeks as if we had just dozed off in a garden. Sometimes, when I am making the bed, I find a soft, pink petal that’s fallen into the sheets. The blossoms are past their prime now and the branches are ready to be carried out to the curb on trash day. I’m ready to go outside, too.

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  • kishori: this was beautiful – and yes, I too always seem to forget how much I love NY in spring until the season starts.6 years ago

  • Katie @ cakes, tea and dreams: So, so lovely. Boston is blooming too and I’m ready for that soft air.6 years ago

  • Laureen: I love the thought of sleeping under pink blossoms — and feel you on the mixed emotions of spring: some days I’m practically skipping to work with excitement and others I feel overcome with nostalgia for twinkling lights and long, cozy nights…6 years ago

  • Megan: Thanks for writing this. Our spring hasn’t appeared yet and I am aching for it. It seems everyone else is having an unseasonably warm spring and your post reminded me that it will come without rubbing it in my face.6 years ago

  • domestikate: What a lovely, beautiful post. And I feel the same – I am definitely a winter girl, but the freshness of spring takes me by surprise every year, and every year I decide I quite like it, actually.6 years ago

  • Melissa @ Hilltop Hausfrau: …sigh…lovely prose…thanks for this. I too relish “city in the spring” feelings.

    But now I’ll have to resist illegal attempts to snag a branch of cherry blossoms from an unsuspecting tree myself since I have seen no such branches for sale at the local market yet. My ginormous bunch of daffs might have to do…6 years ago

  • There’s something about spring that, like domestikate says, just takes you by surprise. It sneaks up on you in a way that’s just irresistible–despite my best efforts! It’s fun to write about. I need some daffodils myself!6 years ago

  • Liza in Ann Arbor: I know what you mean. We were in the 80’s all last week and I was determined not to turn on the airconditioning. Today, HAIL! I’m freezing. Hope it didn’t kill our blossoms. They’re so fleeting, just like fall’s reds and oranges.6 years ago

  • Amy C: Beautifully written! I was reluctant to come out of the winter fort I’d built for myself on the couch (piles of blankets and pillows, two snuggly dogs). Until that first warm day, when I got my fingers in the earth and sowed those first, early seeds into the barely warm ground – I was hooked. Now I am craving that warm sun and the bursting trees!6 years ago

  • Monday's Nugget - Lana: It was 91 yesterday during the Easter Egg Hunt my daughter participated in. 91! All the encapsuled candy was melted.
    Every year I say my favorite season is fall, but then spring comes in on a cool breeze and woos me with it’s floral scented breath. Then, before I know it, I am having an affair with tulips and rainboots. 🙂6 years ago

  • Tall Girl: Oooo, there was a cherry tree outside the window of my childhood home! I used to love sleeping with the window open while it was in blossom, a la Anne of Green Gables.6 years ago

  • Doris: Lovely post, Sarah, very beautifully written. I can relate to your initial spring feelings. About 2 weeks ago everybody started to wear T-shirts and I was still snuggled up in a softshell jacket. I felt totally out of place, but hey, it wasn’t like it was hot or anything. 😉

    Happy Easter!6 years ago

  • S&C: There’s some sort of blossoming tree on my street that I stop at every afternoon to smell. It’s insanely sweet and just intoxicating. (Then I peer up at the house window to see if the owner’s watching me snort their tree for 10 minutes straight.)6 years ago

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