It may be Spring on the calendar and I can confirm the by-product of the blizzard of last week in my neighbourhood has all but vanished. I know winter is lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce if I am complacent, but today, this very day, while it is +18 in my back yard, I am hanging my freshly washed blankets and sheets on the clothesline, to wave in the Spring breeze, in celebration of what is coming. It is what we do in Spring. The fibres will gather up the smells of Spring, of fresh air and sunshine, and hold on to those smells with a gentle grip so that when I slip under my blankets this evening, my eyes heavy and my muscles weary, I will breathe in that essence of life and will drift off to sleep with dreams of summer, of floating weightless on Rainy Lake, of pulling a fresh walleye from the water and having a grateful shore lunch, of galloping on Nassau across my childhood fields, the wind tugging at my hair, Nassau’s mane in my face, the warmth of his back reaching into my cells to give them his healing power. Every breath-taking experience, every moment of gladness and joy is captured in that zephyr of Spring, the aroma replenishing my winter-weary body, granting me freedom.
Think of your own childhood Spring – the bags of marbles, the skipping ropes, the softballs and ball gloves, the bicycles, the frog-catching, the kite flying. Remember the joy of abandoning boots and pulling on running shoes to run fast, faster than you ever imagined possible, of throwing your heavy jacket over the fence and feeling freer than you had ever felt before. Remember hanging upside down from the thick branch of a tree, your tree, of gathering up dandelions and marsh marigolds and pussy willows, of Saturday morning energy that pulled your body from bed as if it had superpower strength. I think of new calves stretched out in the sunshine before romping in imagined races with their herd-mates, of fluffy ducklings waddling and quacking, of newly born sheep whose wool coat was so perfect it almost made you cry, of the crocus and the daffodil straining from the soil to be first to rise up in their splendour.
I couldn’t wait for Spring, watched for it on the calendar, waited for its voice as the melting snow created waterfalls and rapids on its way to the river, begging to wade in with my tall rubber boots, but never quite tall enough. I waited for Spring’s smells, the earth waking, stirring, stretching. I couldn’t wait to pull out my baseball bat and ball and try to hit my own homeruns, over the yard fence, above the wall of spruce trees, swinging the bat as if I played for the Oakland A’s, my team back then, when I imagined I could hit like Reggie Jackson and throw like Vida Blue and catch like Thurman Munson (though a different team, but don’t tell anyone).
Ahh, Spring, where have you been when I’ve needed you, desperate to recharge my depleted battery, to remind me that all will be well, in due course. Until then, I will run in my childhood body, will remember the bounce and the ease and absolute necessity of running everywhere I wanted to go. Running, running, running.