Susan Lyon

Kind of Spring

Susan Lyon

Just because the cherry blossoms came out early this year doesn’t mean that it’s spring. It was a fluke. Frankly, it will only ever become spring once I’m happy, you’re happy, we’re happy, they’re happy, and then we have world peace too. Sustained world peace, I mean, not the kind you read about in the newspaper that vanishes a week later.

Since that isn’t going to happen this year, we are all going to have to settle for a regular cold spring. It is going to be the kind of spring where it’s early March and you’re still shivering on the way out the door to work, then by midday the fog burns off to reveal a brief, toasty sun. But you’re trapped indoors all day until it’s dark out again anyways, so you see the sun without feeling it. Maybe you step out for coffee, or maybe you don’t: does it matter?

I know it’ll be that kind of spring – a certain kind of spring you can predict and see coming a mile away.

First, there’s one perfect day. Out of nowhere, you find yourself spontaneously stepping out onto a patio-roof-promenade-sundeck-porch type situation for a beer, with a wonderful new friend, ripe for the taking: the mystery and allure of a summer relationship altogether still intact. It’s so sunny, crisp, and windy that day, all at the same time, that you get an accidental sunburn. It’s perfect; you burn only the tip of your nose, wearing no SPF. You return home exhausted but somehow relaxed, ready for anything, but mostly ready for more spring days. You are full of hope.

But then, it unknowingly turns into that certain kind of spring you knew was coming all along – you didn’t have a say in this. It’s the kind of spring where a young person wearing headphones doesn’t offer a seat to the old lady on the bus. It’s the kind of spring where you don’t see or call your family as much as you should. It’s the kind of spring where time passes both more slowly and more quickly than you’d like, so you graciously allow it to pass. You don’t forget to pay the rent: March, then April, then May.

It’s also the kind of spring where something bad happens to somebody else and you feel schadenfreude – but your pleasure comes to be mixed with guilt. Susan Sontag and Aristotle felt schadenfreude too, you know. You shouldn’t worry so much about being a bad person.

It’s the kind of spring that suddenly becomes fall before it was ever summer. Suddenly it is cool again, even though it was never very hot. You seem to recall that first day, with the beer on the porch, being a lot hotter and more perfect than it was.

“How did I let this happen?”

You interrogate yourself endlessly, wondering what happened to your time and your life. Were you enjoying it, or weren’t you? It was either an endless spring, or a forgotten summer – it’s unclear which: does it matter?

It’s the kind of spring that ends before it ever began.

How do I know it’s going to be that kind of spring, you ask? I know because last spring was like this too. I’m a little nostalgic.