Thaw

I hesitate to write this knowing that I might speak too soon, but it seems that winter is actually ending! I had some doubts, in the middle of the month-long snowstorm we were having. Now, while temperatures overnight will continue to drop below freezing for at least a few weeks, I’m sure, the current forecast looks much warmer. That makes me feel so much better about things. I went out today and I noticed a difference in the huge mounds of snow. There are still huge mounds, of course, but there seemed to be no impassable sidewalks left! I was very pleased about that. I can now wear more than just the one pair of shoes again…

The part of spring I really like comes after all the snow has melted, when temperatures are getting up to the 60s and 70s and the sun stays out longer and longer. Style-wise, it’s a lot easier to choose an outfit, especially since I can just throw on a dress and go without putting on tights or leggings, which has deterred me from wearing dresses most days this winter.

But there’s something to be said for those first few warm days as well. They’re the ones that are full of potential, promises, and hope.

If it snows again, though, I’m going to be so upset.

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Tulips in Bloom

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These bright-colored beauties are blooming right now outside of the New England Institute of Art, right at the corner where buses 65 and 66 pick up. I passed by them this morning and they were so pretty I had to take a picture.

I’m a fan of minimalism in gardens. Some people like the wild look, flowers everywhere, every inch of dirt covered. In my opinion, if you’re going to the effort of actually gardening, make it look cleaner and and more intentional. I’m not into really cluttered flower arrangements either. Two or three colors are best (aside from the green of the stems and leaves), and I prefer a smaller bunch of notably pretty flowers, rather than a huge bunch of just ok ones. (I won’t say no to a bouquet of roses, though.) I like Ikebana for its minimalism as well.

Take these tulips as an example. If they were being crowded by thousands (more likely tens, but you get the picture) of other flowers, would they be as visible? Would they be as beautiful? Would they, in fact, even be the same color? They might be duller, and it would be fact, as perception is some high percentage of reality.

I saw some other, droopy tulips later on my commute, and they looked exactly like bell peppers. (Close enough, anyway.)

Eyes Open

Spring is an odd progression. It comes phase after blooming phase, a transition that overlaps so much with winter that it becomes almost impossible to tell when it really begins. Right now, the magnolia trees are full of blossoms and a few other trees here and there show their buds in various shades of bright green. Others are still as bare as ever, with no sign of their seasonal green peeking through yet. The change happens so slowly, it is easy to miss the moments when it first starts to show.

The Seasons

Winter came early that year, covering the month of August with a cold cloak of snow. We all grumblingly dug out our winter coats and boots, warm scarves and thick socks, from their summer lodgings of out-of-the-way closets and boxes shoved into corners. The snow ploughs came out, with great difficulty, from their hibernation, so that the world could continue turning for those with places to be. Salt scattered haphazardly, resentfully across sidewalks and streets made messy coatings on tires and shoes. Snowfall ceased for days of respite, but the cold and the sight of sparkling white remained constant.

There was a certain beauty to the snow-covered blooms and bright green leaves of late summer. A perverse beauty, some said, but even the ones who thought so admitted that the glitter of frost on a dark red rose was enchanting.

Yet even the most snow-enamored of us found it rather unsettling. We had never seen August snow, let alone for the entire month. After a few weeks of speculating conversations, people stopped talking about it, instead sitting silently in cars and buses, on porches, wrapped in blankets, with hot tea, staring with interest, concern, and sometimes annoyance at the scenic wintery vistas.

September brought warmer temperatures and steady, mild rains, flooding the streets with a river of melted snow. We put away the cozy winter clothes in exchange for umbrellas, waterproof outerwear, and knee-high rubbery rain boots.

After the melting, everything looked withered and limp, with a grayish tinge of rot. Clouds consistently plugged up the sky, dulling the world that had recently been so bright. Mid-month, nothing had changed. The leaves did not fall from their branches, nor did they turn the familiar yellow, orange, and red of autumns past. Approaching October, which should have brought anticipation of beautiful colors, leaf-jumping, and (of course) Halloween, we found ourselves asking, Will the leaves ever turn? Will they fall, and make room for the new buds of spring? Or will we be trapped in a colorless world of rain, forever?

If one looked out of an elevated window, all one could see was a sea of decorated umbrellas, the only color we could muster in our dreary world.