I woke up the other morning with the sun streaming into my window and felt that it was Spring all of a sudden, right on time! I swear it has been 20 or 30 years since I have had Spring Fever, since I lived in NY. In LA I don't ever remember having had this particular feeling connected with a seasonal change, have you? Have I just forgotten it because I am so fickle?
My most potent memory of the first day of Spring is from sometime in the late 70's.............my best friend Charles (now gone) called me up, excited by the seasonal shift, and we "met in the middle," he walked over from the East Village, me from the West Village, and we had lunch or coffee somewhere. Eventually we split up, each going back to our own neighborhoods, still in the daylight. I remember being somewhere near the wonderful boite 1 Fifth Avenue, the restaurant with the interior from The Normandy (now gone), when a street guy trained his eye on me from 100 feet away, reeling a bit, pointing a crooked finger at me. "You........you......." he said, I instantly felt myself do that thing I had learned to do, erecting an invisible boundary around myself to deflect his attention somehow (this figures later into why I left NY but that's another story) but he was coming right at me and there was no escape. He came right up to me, a little dirty, a little drunk, a little toothless, a little wobbly, "You.........you...........look better than a government check!"
I was ashamed of myself for expecting the worst, elated to be able to share this moment, the first sensation of Spring, with a fellow denizen of the city I still loved, the season I loved best, the month I was born, so very New York, so very communal, here we were together on the best day of the year. I laughed and thanked him for the compliment and continued on my way, thinking I would always remember this moment, and so I do.
Oddly I remember exactly what I was wearing, a red cashmere turtleneck, as it was still chilly, with a kind of what is it called, a pareo I think, from Guatemala, a kind of split poncho in light gray and black alpaca, a bit furry on the outside, you can wrap the two sides of it tighter around you in the cold, and red lipstick, to match the sweater of course.
New York has changed immeasurably, I have changed more measurabley, dear Charles is no longer with us, but I can still experience the sensation, the change of light, my imagination of what is to come, of the first day of Spring, and remember Charles.
Fast forward to Brittany, where the Springy feeling was but a moment, it is still gray and cold and I have learned to tend the fire, but that taste was all I needed to buy a couple of rose bushes and plant poppies and iris and wait impatiently for the next burst.