It’s that day in February today.
I know that, for some arcane reason, some folks look to Groundhog Day, February 2nd, for portents of spring, but those people are no friends of mine. I set no place at my table for Puxnatawny Phil.
However, as much as I enjoy winter and all her charms, there is always one day when that seductress Spring comes sauntering softly in, with laughter in her eyes and promises in her smile. There is always that one day in February when we are all complicit in that mass delusion that the back of winter has been broken, that we’ll get off easy this year, that we should start airing out our strappy little sundresses.
One glorious day when the temperature reaches 50 degrees. When birds are singing, a gentle breeze is blowing, even some buds are intemperately forming on the hyacinths. You know that day when you suddenly remember what spring smells like? Like the earth waking up, like fresh, fertile soil loosening itself from its own mortal coil, when it smells like the very word loam?
And you know, deep in your heart, that it can never last — that this is the equivalent of that one amazing romance you had with that guy from New York City where in one weekend he sang to you in the gondola over the East River, brought you to CBGBs, treated you to late night pastries at some corner Italian pastry joint, brought you home to his fantastic little apartment in Brooklyn where you made out on his futon from which you could see the Brooklyn Bridge through the window and then made omelets in the morning while listening to Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash records and you thought yes I could do this yes I could live in New York and do this every night with this man and it will be wonderful…
And then it’s over, of course, you can’t live in New York, you actually hate cities after a few days, they depress you with all their grime and ugliness and poverty and anonymity, and you go back home and explain yourself to your girlfriends and they laugh and wink and say they’ve had that guy in New York too, everybody who’s anybody has, you have to entertain that fantasy at least once, and how was he? But you know it’s over and it’s time to go back to work and stop living on cash advances on your VISA card at 25% interest, at about a hundred dollars a pop, withdrawals at ATMs on some darkened street corner on the lower East side when the last thing you’re thinking about is paying that bill, it’s all about the pastry right now, and how his lips taste on yours…
And you know winter isn’t over yet. But there is that one day when you go without a jacket. You walk a little lighter and faster, the way you walk after really fun sex, and you start thinking about tank tops and miniskirts. But tomorrow it will be 28 degrees and windy and you’ll have to wear your jacket again, but at least for now you will smile that secret smile as you knot up your wool scarf under your pea coat, because you are remembering that 3 am pastry in Brooklyn.
Today is that day.