The sun’s come out. No matter how old you get Spring always feels like a bit of a surprise. Like bumping into an old friend in the street who’s been living abroad for a while. Familiar and lovely but somehow not expected. You turn a corner into March, the sky gets brighter, the days get a fraction longer, and the real new year starts. January feels like a month of pretending. We know we’ve ticked into another calendar year but it doesn’t really feel real until the sun unfurls itself from its February chrysalis and colours everything differently. Fresh.
It’s amazing how everything changes. The birds pipe up, the clouds look freshly scrubbed, the streets get greener, the trees look less sad, the first flowers of the season pop up shyly, the blue above us looks crisp as a dry-cleaned suit. Our lungs feel lighter; our steps have a different energy. Something in us changes. Even the winter lovers among us are rejuvenated by the vitamin D, you can’t fight the science, and for those whose soul feels a bit bedraggled from months of gloom it really is a new start. We are reunited with something in ourselves; something that we quite like. We’ve not been our best, and now we feel like we can be.
It feels easier to tackle things with this strange new energy that nature gives us. More realistic resolutions for the year come into play. After months of spreading myself too thin, feeling frazzled and too brain-weary to do anything particularly well I feel like I’m shaking things off, mixing things up. I have promised myself I am going to manage my time more strictly so I can allow myself time to switch off. I am going to keep work within certain parameters so I get to keep my evenings and weekends for remembering that I am human. Or that’s the idea anyway. I lay in bed quite late on Sunday listening to the spring birds and it felt strange. I felt like a lazy slug but then realised that that is what people do on Sundays. It is a day of rest. I can’t remember the last time I really did that. I had myself a proper weekend. It felt sort of dirty but I loved it.
I’d spent the afternoon in the pub on the Saturday after getting my hair cut and my new fringe that I suspect makes me look like a simpleton was making my eyes a bit blinky. I sat in the pub garden in the spring sunshine with a friend and we played each other new songs we’d discovered on our phones. One of his contributions was a French band named Pamplemousse who I loved mainly because the French word for grapefruit is about as good a word as you can get. You can’t get a fresher word than pamplemousse. Use it in a sentence today. It will make you feel like you’ve just licked a tart bit of pink citrus. French music always gives me a little flood of imaginary memories. You can fancy yourself a bit French when you were conceived in Nice harbour. You owe it to yourself to be a bit French when your mum and dad banged you into being on a boat after nearly dying crossing the channel. Sometimes these appended selves from little tributaries of our lives can make us feel new and fresh when we imagine ourselves in different stories. Our imagination makes us know that change is ok. Spring is the time for imagination and for changes. I am a tiny weeny bit French and have a new fringe like Amelie’s idiot older cousin and I like it.
As I write this, eyes squinting at the sun as my eyes grow accustomed to the brightness, there’s a fat fly jittering against the window – like a bulb that grew wings that can’t quite carry him far enough. He looks like he’s been locked inside all winter and has just noticed that’s it’s sunny. He wants to get outside. I know how he feels. It’s nice to reemerge.