Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Many Springs

Collages: Washington, DC; Sylvania; Starobelsk springs.

I am having three springs this year. The first was in Washington, DC. I was there in April, and watched the forsythia, magnolia and cherry trees bloom, and the daffodils along Rock Creek Parkway and around the Capitol and Union Station. I watched DC turn lime green.

The second is here in Sylvania, Ohio, my new hometown near Toledo. It's further north, so spring's way behind DC. At least a month, I’d say. It’s coming slowly, the trees and bushes
greening and flowering in slow motion. It’s been unusually rainy and chilly, I’m told, so spring is slowing down, but it is not stopping. Now the flowering white crabapples are at their peak along Sylvania roads and in downtown gardens, and so are the daffodils and tulips, some brightness against gray skies and drizzle. How lucky to have a second spring!

My third spring is unfolding in my mind, in Starobelsk. I remember Luba in her garden, the beautiful flowering apricot trees in her yard, and along the path to town, and then the tulips, lilacs, and iris. Not many daffodils. Mostly white, pink, and lavender, the air fragrant with lilacs in profusion. The Starobelsk spring is more like that in Toledo than in Washington. After a long, cold, icy winter, the change of seasons is as welcomed as a first grandchild, and embraced just as warmly.

Actually in the realm of remembering, I can add a 4th spring: the subtle change in seasons of St. Petersburg, Florida, my hometown before leaving for Ukraine. It’s not a huge change, it doesn’t come after a long, hard winter, with a bang. In central Florida, it’s when the Live Oak start shedding, the bouganvilla are at their brightest, and people are picking gardenias. No tulips, daffodils or lilacs. But enormous tropical flowers, nothing subtle about them. Bold and bright as can be.

So that’s a fourth spring, or a fourth kind of spring. It's nothing like the other three, however, because there's nothing like spring after winter, rebirth after a cold sleep. To experience and to imagine. To have many springs at one time, in one year. To have many springs in one's life. Can't be beat!

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