08 March 2007

Longing for Spring

My skin craves the sun.

In Northern Virginia, the sun is an enemy, heating the heavy air and clearing shadeless playgrounds by eleven a.m. Here in Germany, the sun is an old friend or long-lost lover, seldom seen and greatly cherished when it appears for even a few hours. Although winter temperatures were unusually mild this year, day after day brought gray skies and rain. From drizzling to pouring and back again, with hail here and there for good measure. The only snowfall merely coated the ground in the morning and dissipated by midday. No gleaming white reflecting the sun into squinting eyes. Just fast-moving dark clouds, wind, and rain.

After a while, the wet and the damp and the sameness tighten into a drab cloak. The world contracts: inside the house, inside the school, inside the car, your boundaries the circumference of a small umbrella. Your spirit draws in, and your breath, too, until you hardly notice how small they’ve become. Darkness seeps in, and slowly takes up residence. A gloomy Eeyore roommate, unmoved by reason, convincing you that light is a distant memory. The sun is in hiding, and it's never coming back.

And then, you notice that the mornings seem a little lighter. You’re no longer eating dinner in the dark. But the differences penetrate slowly, and the grayness lingers. You wake at midnight to a roaring wind driving the rain against the windows. And another day dawns, and a speck of blue sky appears, until clouds rush in to blot it out.

But the day does come when the skies clear. It’s still chilly, the wind still chaps your face, but that doesn’t matter. Because that long-lost lover, your old flame, has returned. And you turn your face up to the sky. Oh, this is what it’s like to breathe deeply and freely. Your vision lengthens, and earth and sky and arms open up. Time slows. The afternoon lengthens as you watch children on the playground, running and screaming with joy. Other families come and go, but you stay, relishing even the slight warmth, the light, the charged air. Why should we go home? Who knows when such a day will come again? You soak it in, and take one more deep breath, putting off the moment when you must open the door and step back inside. You suddenly understand why the ancients worshipped the sun.

It’s supposed to rain tomorrow.

Reading: Raising Your Spirited Child (again)
Listening to: Redemption Songs by Jars of Clay and Baby Beluga (Raffi)
Watched Last Night: "Torchwood"

1 comment:

Marcia Bonta said...

Excellent essay, Jen. I enjoy reading your blog. Katrina sounds like quite a trip. Marcia