A Boston Spring

Spring is over. Now, I’m not necessarily sad about that because it means that summer is here, and summer is great! But Boston summers are HUMID, and this California girl likes her heat without humidity.

But, at least we don’t have this anymore:

This is what I like to call the Snow Fence. It’s when a storm is so vicious, so cold, so relentless, it causes accumulation on the chain link fence of the elementary school near our house. Fence accumulation = ultimate winter storm = I’m too cold for this.

I’ve been on the east coast for almost eight years now, but I still can’t seem to get the hang of winter. I actually really enjoy it when snow is falling, and I marvel in the day right after a storm when the world is all quiet and sparkly. But then I have to go outside and I have to put on my scarf, my earmuffs, my thick socks, my boots, my gloves, and I’m still cold! Then, I’m over it.

After the seemingly never-ending era of the Snow Fence comes the Slow Melt. It is slow, things melt, and it is still too cold for me. I still need my earmuffs. Until, suddenly, things subtly start growing. Promising, green, spiky, budding things like this:

And then, all of a sudden, POW! It is spring:

You can tell it’s spring not only because flowers are blooming, but because people come out of their houses. During the winter, it seems like no one lives in Boston. Only a few brave souls venture out into the chill, and they hardly seem human, bundled up into amorphous marshmallow lumps, all wool and down padding. But, on the first nice day, hello neighbors! You exist! You emerge, looking pale and wary, into the light! With your pets and children! You roam the Public Garden admiring the technicolor tulips.

The colors are surreal. I think the eye gets used to seeing everything awash in the muted light of winter so that when real colors materialize again, it’s like, whoa! Wow! That’s insane!

And now, a few weeks after that riot of color in the park, it is all gone. I revisited the tulip beds this week, and they are just mounds of dirt. The tree blossoms have fallen, the only proof of their short existence the brownish smudge of mashed petals on the sides of the roads.

Growing up in California, we had flowers and colors all the time; I remember our purple jacaranda trees and agapanthus, the puckered skin of lemons and oranges in my grandparents’ trees, the evergreen of our lawns and bushes. But I never noticed them like I do here, where their absence for half the year calls special attention to their reappearance each spring. If I ever get back to Cali for good, I promise to pay more attention and appreciate the constant lovely abundance of natural beauty, the kind you don’t have to wait through six months of snow for!


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