There should be a way to capture that smell when Spring first gains traction in the weather. There are warm days and there are cool days but it’s palpable when Spring takes hold. There’s that aforementioned smell that isn’t quite cut grass and more complex than the crass perfume of flowers. It’s a compound that’s much more entangled and knotted, much more intricate. The scent is everything in Spring, from pollen to animals, but it’s much more. Its gestalt is something unique, belonging not to the presence of particular scents but to the process of the season bringing them about. The smell of a newborn baby does nothing to me but the smell of a newly arrived season takes me over. Perhaps it’s more akin to a wine, a scent that is living things simply being alive. The chemicals sometimes competing, sometimes bonding, always layering and entwining. This vintage only lasts moments in the context of the year. There are only a handful of days before it settles into something pleasant but simpler. Common.
And there’s the sound. In nature there are many different types of sound. There’s the sudden silence that follows as insects and birds become alerted to a presence, a quiet that brings disquiet. There’s the claustrophobic boxing of noise that comes along with low clouds a dense fog. And then there’s Spring’s Silence, when the sounds of wind, traffic, animals, all periodically fade away. Like a vacuum it is a pulling silence; it reaches into you and pulls you out of yourself to fill the space around you. The insistence of the Silence of Spring brings with it an urgency. It is an aggressive peace that forces its tone on those who hear it. It’s like a drug that way, imposing itself on you and making its desire your own. Zen is too balanced a word for this silence and calm. Spring Silence runs its fingers down the back of your neck, eliciting a shudder of nostalgia – but rather than making you long for the past, you crave to make the current moment linger. Have you ever tried to force a moment to stay? It’s a losing battle. That act of turning the moment into a battle is what makes it lost.
All of this comes at a cost. Fall is by far my favorite season. Fall wields a brush and palette and comes prepared for war. Fall is the beauty in decomposition. Spring is the transition of life and therefore inherently mawkish. I am drawn into Spring despite myself, never truly embracing it until made to. As children Summer is the default season of choice, more due to living in the perpetually immature machine that is school. Schedules are doled out, freedoms strictly boxed in. Summer is the time of release. Even if you prefer the cold and hate the heat, the Summer is still your season of freedom. But once free of these childhood shackles, you may explore other seasons. Summer no longer has to be the season of freedom. And Summer does not make the best lover. Summer has a cruel streak, a meanness to its love. Summer will claw at you while smiling, making you grimace and sweat. Summer will scratch you, both with a wicked humor and with rage. Often you cannot tell which is which until the burns and exhaustion arrive the following day. Summer sounds wonderful as an idea but can be too demanding a season. Spring’s forceful hand is the attitudinal change of a high, not Summer’s crash of living with the consequences. Spring makes you enjoy thin, yet exuberant music outside of your comfort zone. Summer is enduring it with the awareness of what that music is and isn’t. Where Fall allows you to pull the crunch and colors of the world into you, Spring cuts you open and hangs your soul on trees and across fields. Fall lets you eat the world, Spring is when the world reclaims your being and makes a feast of you instead.
So today was that day of Spring for me. While Spring may have shown its hand yesterday there is something to the idea that it doesn’t exist until it is experienced. Not in the holistic, faux-quantum manner of those that sell woo and bank on you understanding the words they sell even less than they do, but in the same way that it is a beautiful day somewhere but if you’re not in that climate then it is not your day. Sometimes that climate is time zones away. Sometimes it is on the other side of a window. But what is clear is whether that climate is here or there. Today that weather was here for me and I went outside and walked through it. Spring spread its fingers like a spider’s web across my path. I saw it and approached. I walked through those fingers and they dug into my body. Summer’s fingers have nails but Spring’s become ephemeral upon penetration. Those fingers raked through me and a different person came back.