I Love Europe in the Spring Time
Posted on April 27, 2012
Yesterday was the first of a proposed series of plus-20 degree days. Mercury hit 22.6, exceeding all my expectations. I took myself off to my favourite park – establishing a preferred park is an important part of settling in somewhere new, I have found – to sit with the birds, the flowers and Colette. Colette, as it turns out, is a stupendous companion to take on park jaunt, because no one describes what pleasures abound for our senses quite like she does. And few times of the year ensure such a plethora of sensory pleasures abound, as Spring.
Spring in Europe is a truly wonderful thing. Just like the season that precedes it, my understanding of what this precious time of year really means, has been enhanced tenfold since moving here. In Sydney, we enjoy mild weather. Cool Winters, crisp Autumns, gentle Springs and warm-hot Summers. Temperatures stay above zero, there’s no snow to shovel off the driveway, nothing freezes over, even in the midst of Winter, there’s green to be seen; things are still alive. Here, Winter is stark. It is grey and colourless and cold. Things freeze over. Things die, or sleep for a very long time so as not to die. For (far too many) months of the year, trees are spiky and naked, skies are dull and leaden. The earth simply shuts down for a while, takes a little break. And it is depressing, demotivating and very, very cold.
And so, when the time comes for everything to wake up again, when Mother Earth comes to and shakes off her snowy cloak, there is this genuine feeling of regeneration. Of rebirth, of life returning. We get daffodils at home and the sun is markedly warmer. The shift is there, but that huge, warm, giddy sigh of relief is absent. The Winters simply aren’t that awful to be so stupidly pleased that they are over, to feel so completely light. At home, Spring rolls around with a sweet smile, here it bursts into bloom with a big, blossomy, bet-you-missed-me aria.
Yesterday, in the park, the birds were out. There were fat, dopey bumblebees buzzing around. Cars had their windows rolled down and everyone’s, at times suspect, choices for a soundtrack to Spring were pumping forth. Every time the gentlest of breezes blew, a shower of blossoms went drifting.
The earth is awake once more. And she’s smiling.
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