Spring arrives in bits and pieces, like a world traveler slowly unpacking her luggage. A sunny day here, a tepid breeze there, the brief moment when you don’t have to fasten your coat all the way up. But then the traveler will forget something crucial like a toothbrush or her sunscreen and get all flustered and suddenly there’ll be snow on the ground again. It was all we could do to not take her by the shoulders and give her a gentle shake and a please get on with it already.
But spring will do what spring is wont to do, and sometimes that means glorious floral displays and sometimes that means leaving the Christmas lights up til April. The decorations are lovely when they happen, but she’s a bit inconsistent about the timing. The truth is she’s a scatterbrain, but she’s part of the family so we love her anyway. We roll our eyes quietly to ourselves and try to wait patiently for her to be finished.
When everything is finally in place, it is a sight to behold. We treasure our moments together, not knowing how long they’ll last. Sometimes she stays for months, and sometimes barely a few days. It never feels like just the right amount of time – her departure is either all too sudden or it’s so extended that you start to wonder if she’ll ever leave. The prolonged goodbyes are merely the same discussions she’d have anywhere else, just now held in a doorway. They don’t really ever mean goodbye.
But then she’s gone and life settles back into a predictable rhythm. We think of her occasionally as we find some random thing she’s left behind – a tepid breeze during the heat of summer or a tree budding late. We take care to set them aside for when she returns.
She comes back again in the fall, flush with adventures from all of her travels and with lots of new souvenirs to share – leaves of red and gold, and magnificent sunsets. We barely recognize her at first, she’s so tan these days – but it’s still her. She unpacks her autumn clothes and we marvel in wonder at their vibrant beauty. So much more daring than what she wore the last time she was here.
She has seen parts of the world that we never will, and tells the most glorious stories. We watch and listen with wide eyes, except for some of the children. They never seem to appreciate her quite as much as they ought. We try to convince them that she won’t be around forever, but they don’t seem to understand. Time moves more slowly in their world. They don’t know how brief the years can truly be.
And still she is no slave to the calendar. Just when she’s settled in and it feels like she’ll certainly stay forever, she is gone again – whisked away on another adventure, as quickly as she came. We bid our goodbyes into the cool air that trails behind her and hope that she visits again soon.