I awoke this morning to rain.
Before coffee, before the sanctuary of the shower, even before the ghosts of last night’s dreams had slipped out of my mind, I had to feel it. I ran outside to the gray dawn in my robe and bare feet, and tilted my face up towards the sky, my husband laughing at me from the kitchen. God, it felt so good. I can’t even begin to tell you.
Rain. Not half-frozen sleet, not the tentative drizzling the sky’s been experimenting with lately – but real, relentless rain.
Later, wrapped in a shawl at the window, bitter coffee steaming up from the mug warming my hands, the rain turned to snow again. Spring is messy like that, especially in this place, this unpredictable land between the mountains and the prairies. But the white on the ground can’t erase the fact that for a moment, I had rain. Spring is here, and life is changing again.
I recently chopped my hair off to chin-length, after years of trying to cultivate a hyper-fertile Venus in Furs sort of look that was more who I wanted to be seen as than who I actually am. Twelve inches gone, I looked in the mirror and thought, “Oh, there you are, Paige.” In the same vein, I think I’m at an age where it’s too exhausting to present myself as anyone other than who I am, and who I am very much looks like a 90’s-era Art Mom. Long cotton dresses, giant woolen sweaters, vintage slips and clunky boots for tromping about in the mud. A long-standing loathing of socks and brassieres. Ink-stained hands and jackets that aren’t quite warm enough, but which make coming inside all the more pleasurable.
Could I talk about anything other than the return of green? Spring food is so lovely – all that freshness after months of heartier fare. I’ve been steaming artichokes and dipping the leaves in melted French butter, roasting new potatoes with whole cloves of garlic, poaching eggs and breaking them over asparagus. Brussels sprouts are an all-time favourite, especially when they’re fried in a skillet with bacon. Fresh bread with pesto and leek soup. Radishes and bitter greens with goat’s cheese. Smoked trout and salmon. Ah!
I’m on a huge Debussy kick – especially his gorgeous and very springtimey Prélude à l’Après-midi d’un faune. Stravinsky’s revolutionary The Rite of Spring makes me feel pagan and wild, like stripping off all of my clothes to go traipsing around the woods. There’s a reason it incited a riot when it premiered. Lots of Fleetwood Mac, because Stevie Nicks, like spring, makes me feel raw and alive. I’ve also recently discovered podcasts! I know, I know. I’m about 10 years late to the party. Lore is wonderful, and so are the now-defunct X-Files Files (nope, still haven’t gotten over that particular obsession… blame the extraterrestrials).
I love the hiking trails this time of year, so wondrously alive with all those scents – wet earth, old leaves, new life. The woods are coming alive again, crocuses peeking out of the snow, birdsong filling the air. I’m spending as much time outside as I can, even just walking through the neighbourhood and filching early flowers from the alleyways. The weather’s gotten mild enough where I can grab a coffee and just wander without purpose, which is my favourite kind of exploring to do.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not in possession of one of the world’s greener thumbs. But year after year, I give it a mighty effort – last year’s eggshell seedling starters were a fabulous success. Spring is also a wonderful time to grow in other ways, to really challenge and push yourself towards where you want to be. Use this time as an opportunity to clean house, literally and metaphorically.
Ah, spring. How I’ve missed you. This winter was a long one, and I’m ready for more rain.