“Spring is God’s way of saying, ‘One more time!’ “ — Robert Orben
I don’t know about you but I am very reactive to the seasonal transitions. Heading into fall and winter I am purposeful and determined. Armed with lists of goals and good intentions, I drive my family crazy with the insistence that they come up with action plans and to-do lists. Summer makes me lazy. If I could, I would mirror the cat and the dog. I would loll about in the shade doing nothing at all. They pretend to be dead but I would read.
Spring is different. Yesterday, stepping out of my office where I am incarcerated most of my waking hours, into the sunshine, I realized that spring makes me feel young again. Believe me when I say I am old enough to relish that. There is something in the quality of the light and the sharpness of the smells that takes me back to Long Lake in Littleton, MA where I grew up.
These are the things that spring will always remind me of:
Do you remember how the arrival of spring would signal a trip to the shoe store to buy new sneakers? I realize I am dating myself but I grew up in time when kids did not wear sneakers all year. We wore shoes. Serious leather shoes with buckles and laces not Velcro made by companies named Stride Rite and Buster Brown. This was a sure sign that freedom from school and the need to wear our hated uniforms was in sight.
Every spring my sister and I got a new ball. Given that I was (and I still am) the most uncoordinated person on this planet I am not sure why. I suppose because I wanted one. These balls were always rubber, varying between the size of a tennis ball and softball. We bounced them off the walls and on the sidewalks. Some girls (not me!) could perform elaborate moves like bouncing them under a leg and then catching them. The year that I was in the sixth grade, the thing to do was to have your friends write something on the ball with ballpoint pens. In hindsight, I suppose this was an “early cave girl” manifestation of what I see pouring off my news feed from the girls who are my friends on Facebook. And, yes, we had mean girls then, too.
I will be honest with you. I had a love/hate relationship with jump ropes. They both fascinated and repelled me. My parents paid money to send us to Catholic school. Our recreational facilities consisted of a large paved area surrounded by chain link fencing behind the school. There was a line painted down the center. Girls on the left and boys on the right patrolled by nuns who may or may not have had weapons hidden in the folds of their voluminous habits. Only a runaway ball justified crossing the line and that was frowned upon.
Jump ropes were not my friends. I could manage to hop my way through a game of Chinese jump rope but never the traditional game. I was a jump rope disaster. I would stand on the sidelines in awe of my fleeter classmates leaping through the flying ropes of Double Dutch to the chants of “A my name is Alice and my husband’s name is Al…”. The highlight of any recess consisted of successfully cajoling one of the good nuns to play. And boy, could some of those nuns jump.
So what do you think of when spring shines its sunny face in your window?