Instead of the silent wonder we felt as we turned our faces up to the sky and first let the wet crystal flakes come to rest on our rosy cheeks, we only remember the muck and slush of the aftermath of one too many blizzards. The back-breaking weight of hundreds, maybe thousands of shovel-scoops thrown to either side of us.
Instead of the novelty of wrapping our necks in soft scarves, the warm invincibility of layers built of jackets on cardigans on Henleys on V-necks, there's only the sharp sting of cold floorboards on the naked, bed-softened soles of our feet as we climb out of bed in the morning.
Instead of soul-warming chai lattes, we think only of rain that falls sideways and scrapes its cold fingers along our bones.
Instead of the glow of family gatherings, we think only of the loneliest moments in our car as we shiver waiting for the heat to work.
Instead of Christmas lights and snow as white as our smiles, we think only of short days and longer nights.
It's like our spirits are covered in a crusty layer of salt. We're tired of it.
But today...today is different. Can you feel it, too?
My breath leaves my mouth in slowly spinning strings of white. They dance and disappear into the cold air. I like to think they'll travel to faraway places, like New Zealand, and come back to me years from now in a warm breeze to say, "You haven't even begun to taste life."
Slight chill aside, the air stirs with something warm, bright, fresh. It smells like evaporated rain, like slow-cooking hope.
And there it is.
The whole sky above slowly fades up from black to pale, pure blue. I look at the horizon, at the edge of the earth where the tree lines stand as the levees which keep all of our angst and worries and stress and longing from spilling out endlessly into the rest of the world. Just above those trees, the sky blooms with deep violet.
Soon, violet will turn crimson. And then it will come:
But not like it's come up for the last hundred-or-so days. Not winter sun. This is spring sun.
This is the sun that will plunge its hands deep into the earth and hold them there until the ground stops shivering beneath our feet and begins to feel the relaxing waves of warmth move through its tissue.
I can almost hear life pushing itself out of the ground at the mere thought of it.
This is the sun that will rest its rays on the back of your neck as you enjoy your chicken-salad-sandwich lunch outside for the first time in months.
This is the sun that will set your kids' hair ablaze with gold as you do the important work of absolutely nothing but fun in the backyard.
This is the sun that will come to your window like Peter Pan came to Wendy's and beckon you to fly away on some new adventure, to let your age and responsibilities and cares fall haplessly to the tiny streets of London far, far below.
This is the sun that will weave its way through the barbed wire you've wrapped around your ribs, soak straight through the stone you've laid up around your heart, and cause new flowers to burst out of the barren ground you thought was done with love and hope and life.
Can you feel it like I do?
Can you feel it picking the cold, dead air from your skin?
This is the spring sun. This is hope. This is new life.
Here it comes.