Spring is finally upon us and the people of the country are rejoicing! There may finally be an end in sight. This winter seems to be dragging on and on for some of you and for that I apologize. It’s gotta be rough. I admit I had my mishaps this winter and I won’t be sad to see the season go.
While I was walking the dog this morning the landscapers were planting new flowers for the new season. Otherwise it would be just another day here. The weather has been pretty consistent here in Sunny Florida and we’re looking at moderate temperatures for the week. I don’t mean to brag even though I do.
There is a certain day I remember in Michigan. I say day and not date because one could never predict when it would come. It was an annual thing. I grew up in farm country in Michigan. Not too far from Kalamazoo or Battle Creek but there was only one stoplight in town for the longest time. Then they put one in front of the high school and we became a two light town. Woohoo! There were large farms all around, serious ones with Michigan State University funding and the like.
There would come a day, usually in March or early April at the latest where there would be some snow on the ground and the large piles that had been plowed would be slowly melting into slush and then water. The sun would be shining against the snow and causing a glare you wouldn’t believe. The sky would appear incredibly blue and the clouds puffier than normal.
I’d jump in my car (it seemed this always happened after school) and the interior would be warm from baking in the gentle sunlight. The steering wheel might be a little hot but the warm seat would feel good against a back that had just had a cold breeze blow through. As I would make my way to a friend’s house a favorite song might come on the radio. Usually something we had listened to a lot the summer before but hadn’t heard much since. Or classic rock. The Doors have worked a time or two.
The urge to roll down the windows of the car would take over. And every time I have a flash of days like this I imagine the windows to be the manual roll ones as opposed to automatic. There was something about cranking it down all excited that added to the fun. The breeze would still be cold but the car is warm, the sun is still shining and there’s a great song on the radio.
As I hit the side streets it’s hard to ignore the smell of wet grass, cow poop and sunshine. Yeah, you know it, cow poop. It’s an aroma that starts out subtle at that first moment of Spring and then intensifies as the days grow warmer. Just as it becomes unbearable the aroma dissipates and you don’t notice it again until the next first day of spring day.
I’d drive a little faster, not because of the smell but because it felt good. No, not good. It felt necessary on those days. To have the wind blowing through my hair after months of being cooped up inside and fearing that same wind was so incredibly freeing. The journey around the lake I grew up near was 12 miles. Sometimes they flew by in a haze of music, other times the slow drive was taken to savor that feeling of nowhere to go and nothing but possibilities as Spring would soon be followed by Summer.
I miss that smell.
I noticed it when I lived in Arizona. Everyone says they miss the seasons. They do, they aren’t lying to me or themselves. But I think what they actually miss is that feeling. Like they’ve woken up from one of those naps that make a person wonder if a year went by while they slept. In Michigan it’s a three month winter, not a nap but that feeling is the same.
This will be the second year I don’t have that feeling. Today I find that I’m nostalgic for that emotionally bright moment. I wonder if I’ll have to accept that as my new feeling of Spring, that obvious feeling of absence.
There is a bit of a however to all of this. However, I am sitting on my balcony and the sun is shining across my feet. It’s a little chilly outside so it feels great. Our apartment is in the back of the complex and my balcony faces a wooded patch which means I get nature sounds instead of traffic.
With the birds chirping and a cup of coffee at hand I’m reminded of the mornings I spent at our cabin in Baldwin, Michigan. Many mornings I sat there, staring through the trees and thinking semi-deep thoughts. The absolute peace of those moments is reflected on my balcony. There are very few places that bring me that kind of serenity.
So basically what I’m saying here is I miss Michigan Springs but in a serene kind of way. Take from that what you will.