Friday, March 12, 2010

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.

I am so pleased that it is beginning to look, feel and smell like spring. Last week, when it was still somewhat cold, there was one day where the sun was out and I sat on the porch. It was too cold to stay long and I eventually retreated to the deck (on the other side of the house, where the wind was blocked but the sunshine wasn't). But while I was there, I noticed that a flock of doves had taken their places among the branches of the biggest tree in our front yard. There was the smell of rain and all the snow (which has completely vanished) was just beginning to melt. So suffice to say, I saw this weather coming and was really happy, anticipating it. But I wasn't sure it would come so fast.

It's so strange how I experience the seasons and how they affect me. Winter drains me until I feel useless and unmotivated, but spring is a pretty impressive drug, making me feel fully charged. I know I have probably mentioned it before, but this time of year makes me want to go exploring. I especially find myself interested in wandering nature trails and forests – anything green fills me with this urgency. Which makes sense, considering what long winters we have here (versus our very short period of warmth and sunshine). I remember a time when I liked the cold more, but here, it lasts so long and it's so dark that life is often undermined by depression for me. Or maybe it just seems that way. I did have a semi-productive winter; I was probably in brighter spirits and more energetic than I think I was. It's not always easy to recall the positive things, is it?

Last year, I went online looking for forest preserves or parks with trails. I daydreamed about owning a bike. But all this other stuff came up and there were the issues at the office where my boss was delayed in paying me. Money was too scarce to buy a bike and the reason for never making it to the park trails escapes me now, but it just never happened.

Back when I lived in Skokie, my then-roommate and I (when we were still on friendly terms) used to leave early in the morning on weekends. She'd park near a train station and then we'd walk around the city. There was no real purpose – we weren't always going somewhere. We would wander in and out of stores that looked interesting and occasionally, when we got really hungry, we might grab a bite to eat. But mostly, we just explored neighborhoods, watched people. I'm sure we talked, too, but nothing planted itself in my memory so much as just the walks – taking in the city sounds and views and scents. Just seeing everything. Pretty rad.
I miss seeing things. I miss being in love with this city so much that I need to know every street, every corner. Now I find myself fantasizing about being somewhere else and I think part of that has to do with me not making the most of what I have here. I am even poorer this year, but I could make a real effort to get out there, go for hikes, take in the trees. All that stuff is free.

It's springtime again and I want to do so much. I want to never slow down. I am a little manic today with a bundle of spun nerves and I can't stop thinking of the things I want to do. I want to give my heart to Chicago again, explore it until I am running on empty and then maybe I can coast on that for at least one more winter.

Enjoy the sun while it's out!

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