April 10th, 2018



Suddenly, you see it. The brown is giving way. The green is rising. It's so subtle as to be hardly noticeable and yet you notice it. You've been waiting for it. It's hard to tell the difference but the difference is there. It's in the plumping of the grass. It's in the filling out of trees. It's in the way the sun shimmers slant from silver to gold. It's the gradual warming of the earth, the way the spring begins pushing its way into your consciousness before anything can even be seen and suddenly there they are! Sprouts! Stalks! Leaves! Flowers!

There's so much anticipation here as the light grows and the earth tilts. Even though it's tilting toward the sun, WE are tilting even further toward it. Jackets are flung into closets. Boots are piled away to hibernate until next winter. Scarves change from thick to thin and brighten with the sun. Any excuse is enough to go outside and lift your face to the sun. It's nearly here, Spring. I think it's here. I hear it in the breeze and the bees and the tilting lilt in everyone's step. No wonder they call it Spring; that's what we do when it comes.

Never have I ever been so conscious of the seasons, of the weather, of the turning of the year, as I am here in Sweden. I know everyone talks about the weather, and god knows, it's on people's minds generally speaking, since it's so out of whack the world over. Climate, weather, patterns, anomalies. It's top of mind, talk of the town.

I came from a country where I could eat any fruit or vegetable at any time of the year; now I look forward to the arrival of the new potatoes and the first strawberries with all the fervor of my fellow Swedes. I lament the lack of spaghetti squash but sound hurrahs for the coming of the artichokes. Christmas is all about clementines. Summer is cherries and plums. Early asparagus in April gives rise to choirs of angels.

In the traffic circle outside of my old workplace, I saw today the first poky purple spears of baby iris and the yellow snouts of daffodils. Someone planted them in a loving pattern of stripes and circles. In Malmö, along the road that runs from one end of Pildammsparken to the other, there's a thick zigzag of tulips; they're not blooming yet, but I bet the green blades of their leaves are up.

Time to sweep away the residue of winter, remove the detritus of last year's growth. Cut back the roses and the honeysuckle, clear out the rotting remains of last year's hostas; new green shoots are already peeping from the earth beneath them. Time to fill the pots with happy bobbing pansy faces in every color it's possible to find: royal purple, butter yellow, whimsical white, scorchy orange and velvet red. Big ones, little ones, as many as I can cram in a pot, until it's bursting. A plethora of pansies! A surfeit of spring!