This has been the perfect spring. It has been long, and chilly, and often sunny, and very very reluctant to get too close to summer. When the weather is like this, the lilacs and rhododendrons remember that this is their own, their native land, and the new growth on trees and fields is a very specific shade of green. My own native land is Portland, Oregon, and although I now live about fifty miles closer to the high-rainfall line of the mountain range than I did then, I seem to have retained the sensibility of the girl who loved growing in the "urban forest" of Portland.
All winter, it is breathtakingly beautiful here where I live. For some very realistic, un-enhanced pictures, take a look at this site. That really is what it looks like here, and I love it. You will note, however, that at the top of the picture, where many people would expect to see "sky blue," we very often have sky but not blue. The color of the sky in the picture is the color of sky that makes green things happen on the ground.
In the spring, the whole world seems to turn the color of that fern in the lower part of this picture. New growth on evergreens, and new growth on leafy trees, and new growth on every bush and fern and patch of wild grasses - all of it glows - especially when the sun gets lower at the end of the day.
On the way back up the Gorge on Sunday afternoon, the rain in the air and on the ground shone in the sunlight because the rain and the sun poured down on us together, and the woods seemed to be made of rain turned to trees and plants wherever it got near the surface of the earth. That light, and that green, and that rain, when it happens all at once, feels to me like the dreams I have in which I can breathe underwater. Perhaps I was a mermaid in a previous life.
Not everyone here is happy to soak in the spring this year, though. Our youngest son was sitting in the living room yesterday, and he looked quite ordinary and content. But then he suddenly erupted into, "I hate this weather! It's too warm and too cold at the same time! Where is that draft coming from?"
So now I have a theory. I think that this weather we've been having, poised between old cold and new warmth, neither sun nor gloom but equal parts of each, is weather that appeals to a middle aged woman who enjoys the season of Almost. Wait. Soon enough.
For a young man who cannot see the end of the school year come soon enough, this season is just plain irritating. It feels on his skin like some sort of restraint. He can move neither forward nor backward. The future he leans toward is overflowing with unanswered questions and unlimited possibilities, and the past he is trying and trying to walk away from still does call to him and remind him that he has been a happy child. And so he sits in a draft instead of a breath of fresh air, and he stuffs himself into a sweatshirt and glares at the windows where the sun sparkles on the raindrops.
Poor kid. I can remember feeling like that. But there is nothing to be done about it. He will stop feeling like that once time passes him from this phase into the next, and there is no other path to take from here to there. So I will sympathize when he erupts in irritated frustration. I do remember.
For me, though, the knowledge of impending summer is in my bones, and I am not in a hurry. For me, this is beauty and I will luxuriate in long, slow moments of glory as I drink in the spring. This year is a really good one.