It is Monday, April 14th, and it is the first 70-degree day since November.
Needless to say, Bostonians are through the roof- people are handing out free frozen yogurt, girls in sundresses nearly dance down the street, and the world smells like one huge, fragrant blossom.
(Did I mention how much I don’t miss the sick yellow of pollen season back in Georgia?)
But something seems wrong about the whole ordeal. Despite my love of sun rays on my (admittedly burn-prone Irish) skin, and despite the joy I find in all the vivacious smells and cotton clothes and iced coffee of spring, something feels wrong.
Here it is: I’m used to Georgian seasons. Temperature and humidity aside, I’m used to some level of reliability, of continuity. January is thirty degrees, February slightly warmer, and March warmer still. When we arrive at the glorious blossom of May, it’s no surprise- our skin has been warming for months now. We are excited, sparkly-eyed, and ready.
I knew before I moved up to Boston that New England weather was notorious for its polarity, but I didn’t expect this level and speed of change, and I simply don’t know how to deal with it. I don’t know how to get a tank top and skirt out of my dresser when I last wore my thick snow boots a week ago. I don’t know how to greet the sun when I didn’t know she was going to be dropping by in the first place. I don’t know how to shake the dust off my bones so quickly, to jump so quickly into the light.
But that’s a part of the Boston life, and I’m realizing more and more that it’s true for more than just atmospheric conditions. Thinking back on the past year, so much has happened so quickly, and suddenly it’s April and there are twelve days of class before summer. It’s too much—my heart is still in October. I can still feel the sharp punch of fall colors, the shiny new friendships forming in the halls, the novelty of the first frozen chunks of river from my window.
And it’s more than memory- I can feel those days in my body. I can feel them, like a ghost limb, fumbling in my gut for a definition. And it scares me.
How can I look fondly back on my freshman year when it feels like it shouldn’t be over? How can I process the ways I’ve grown and loved when the end feels abrupt, when the sights and sounds of my past still boil like the present in my stomach? I am reminded of this Ezra Pound poem:
And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
Not shaking the grass.
This happens. Life slips by. And we move up and on.
As the months come back in snapshots—hosting overcrowded movie nights on the hall, road-tripping to Maryland for spring break, bonding over culturally irrelevant Dreamworks movies—they overwhelm me. It was October and it is April.
But the passage of time carries something good with it, too; in October, the people here whom I love were strangers, my home was just a dorm room, and this wonderful University was just a college in a city in a state far from Georgia.
(Plus Beyonce hadn’t released her album yet. Those were some dark times.)
Time will go on whether we’re ready or not. But it brings us to new friends, new uncharted territories, and new ways to come alive. As spring falls to summer and summer to fall, I will do my best to look back on my first year here not with nostalgia but with joy, and I will try to fill my present and future with days and nights worth living and let myself call that enough.
In the end, that’s all any of us can really do.