Not long ago, I was talking to a young co-worker about crushes. Her eyes lit up and there was a certain kind of smile that can only accompany a deep and secret crush on someone. You could tell just by looking at her that she was full of the kind of affection that is untested by exposure to another. The object of her affection, and I have no idea who it is, was unaware at least to her knowledge that she had any designs on him.
Seeing that look in someone’s face was like feeling the first warm breeze in spring after a long cold winter. You might not properly understand what I mean if you don’t live in a cold climate.
I live in Minnesota. It’s very cold here. If you don’t live in a cold climate, the idea of a warm spring day following a long, blustery winter may not seem like a big deal. It’s a very big deal in Minnesota. For much of fall it’s just a little cold. Then out of the blue, a really cold day appears from no where, much like it did this last weekend. The day is so cold and raw that the wind goes through your winter coat and settles into the core of your body. It’s so cold and windy that your soul loses its moorings and start flapping behind you in the breeze. Winter has come for good and it is not going anywhere soon.
There is nothing I seem to be able to do to blunt the effects of our cold winters. I wear long underwear. I warm my car up for excessive amounts of time. I keep my house toasty warm. I only go out for short periods, but truly there is nothing you can do to completely escape the cold. Monica
recently described the cold as smelling metallic. In Minnesota there are weeks where it begins to smell like metal with dried blood on it. I’ve gone weeks without seeing the sun. You lose your sense of smell and you don’t even know it because it left you so gradually. Your sense of smell never even slammed the door on it’s way out.
Winter lasts so long, I stop believing in spring. I stop thinking about it. I don’t hope for it. I expect the next ice age.
The without fanfare it begins to slowly thaw. One day, you go outside and realize you don’t need a jacket. That day there is a breeze. You smell things you had forgotten about, like lilacs and freshly mown grass. You feel the warm sun on your skin. To say that it feels good is an enormous understatement. I’ve abstained from food for as long as three days. It felt amazing to eat after that experience. But my fast was self imposed. In Minnesota, the cold is imposed upon you. Short of moving away, you are caught in the vice grips of winter, and you never know exactly when it will end.
This feeling of a rapturous spring can also be reproduced upon arriving at a tropical airport. It’s even more intense in that circumstance, as your body doesn’t have much time to prepare for the assault on your senses. The smell of the flowers, the feeling of the sun, the cries of the birds all combine into a sensation that feels so good you think you might be delusional.
That’s why when people talk about the cold in Minnesota, I always talk about how delicious it is to warm up. There is nothing that comes close to being warm after having been cold for a long time.
Seeing this young friend, with that look on her face reminded me of spring.
I’ve been married awhile; long enough to have been both warm and cold. Until I saw that look on my young friends face, I had forgotten what crushes and young love can be like when you are young, and the object of your affection doesn’t even know, and you are afraid to speak to them, and you know you can’t hold yourself back forever.
Spring is a wonderful thing, especially when it follows a long, blustery winter.