Sunday, February 20, 2011

Changing Seasons

I love the change in seasons.  It really doesn’t matter which one, I love the transitions and am happy when the next one season approaches.  This week Spring briefly teased us with 70-degree weather, clear blue skies, and southerly breezes.  For mid-February in the mid-Atlantic this is not unprecedented, but a welcome break, and a sign Winter is loosening her grip.

Normally I anticipate spring’s arrival: The cliché’s of robins and daffodils and baseball and riding bikes in the street, but this year comes with a different anticipation, hesitation really, almost dread.  This past Thursday was the warmest day so far.  Thursday was also a full moon, or so it appeared.  This Thursday’s blue sky and warmth and people out and about brought back memories of another warm spring day, a Thursday with a near full moon, when Amy was killed.

I can remember nearly every detail of the hour before I was greeted by a DC police officer.  I remember sitting in the conference room in the earlier meeting. I was bored.  I look at my iPhone, sent texts and checked email instead of paying attention.  All the while not knowing the world is turning inside out.  It’s like when the sun finally explodes and we continue blissfully for a few minutes before being consumed.

The meeting ends and I walk to a snack bar in an engineering building and buy a large diet Pepsi, answer a call on my iPhone, and respond to an email as I work my way back to my office where a 3pm meeting awaits.  I review the agenda in my head.   But instead of the meeting, I am shunted into a colleague’s office.

It’s a beautiful, sunny, spring day and the shock waves rumble through me.  In my mind’s eye I see those old black and white films of atomic bomb tests.  There is one with a stand of trees. The trees bend over, then recoil back just as a second wave incinerates them into dust.  Then nothing.

I remember each little meaningless detail of that final hour on April 29 and then time stops and my memory is fragmented.  Seemingly random fragments and images connected by dizziness and nausea.

This past year, I welcomed the change of season from Spring to Summer then to Autumn.  And even with the holidays looming, of Autumn to Winter.  But Spring?  I’ll acknowledge your new green leaves and daffodils and robins.  But you are different this year.


  1. I have felt this dread as if I were alongside you, hon.
    But I'm also planting (late as ever...) and that helps a little.

  2. Makes me think about snowdrops. They are harbingers of spring, yet they are hesitant about the coming. Rather than tulips and daffodils that put their faces up to the sun and soak it all up, they keep their heads dropped, tentatively opening with the sun then closing at the end of each day.

    Maybe this spring will be like that. You may get hit by a snowstorm but still you push up. You may not step out with the exuberance of yellow daffodils, but you'll get there just the same.