Posts Tagged ‘Spring


Saving Quarters

The days are lengthening through these cool spring months, and afternoons are warming up slowly in anticipation of summer’s full force. Families up and down Henry Street and East Broadway have begun to hang their laundry out their windows to dry. Wire hangers clatter against the fire escapes and iron grates along the tenement facades, and the damp clothes flap like prayer flags in the breeze that whips across Lower Manhattan and the East River.



I could never live in a place where there is no autumn or winter. It makes springtime all the more miraculous. Do I have such a bad memory that new leaves are a delight for me year after year? Or is it truly amazing how, over the course of three days, a bright green parasol unfolds from nowhere over a drab streetscape? Even this place is beautiful.


“Paging spring. Please report to the customer service counter.”

With each drearily passing day, I grow increasingly impatient with this bleak, grey, cold April. For a couple of weeks, it was odd — even funny. But now? Now it’s just irritating. Add the rain up here in the Northeast, and I can hardly bear it. I felt almost human yesterday when the sun came out for about five minutes. Then it began to rain more. We had rugby training last night outdoors in a constant light, but cold, rain. Mud can be fun — and it was — but let’s be reasonable with this temperature!

Frank Deford pointed out on NPR this morning that April is never a “seasonable” month. We always complain about April. But the problem this year is, rather than an unseasonable April, we’re experiencing a 61-day March.

This might help to explain:

(Where can I get me a pair of those shoes? Mr. Snowmiser does not shop at Payless, I can tell you!)

Of course, when the spring does come (and go — quickly) I’ll just be complaining about the heat and humidity.


Sick Time

As spring takes its sweet time getting here, I am reminded that, in this period of seasonal transition, i.e. April (the best April Fool’s joke I’ve seen in a while is yesterday’s temperature), one is well served to guard against germs and other nasties roaming the range. They seem to really sock it to you this time of year as the changing conditions play havoc with immune systems everywhere. I myself just got over my annual cold relatively unscathed. Now, right on schedule, it’s time for some minor throat trauma.

It’s around this time last year that I was fighting off an as yet undefinitively identified infection that was threatening to eat away the roof of my mouth. I can still feel the scars where the festering craters of decay had formed. I can still see the puzzled faces of the doctors with their pen lights aimed into my mouth (What is that?). I can still hear the otorhinolaryngologist wagging his finger, implying that my fondness for sex with men was probably at the root of my problem. (I still can’t figure that one out.) I can feel the needle pushed deep into my ass cheek for the first of a series of three just-in-case injections. (Praise Jesus, I didn’t need installments 2 or 3.)

The best part was the weight I lost avoiding, at first, solid food, and then all food, full stop.

Now we wait for the summer sun to come and burn off the fog of infection. Until then, people are getting pretty gross.

Yesterday while staring out my office window toward the street, I saw a woman sneeze on her kid. She was facing my building, pushing a little girl in an open stroller across the street. She reared back like a pitcher winding up for a fastball and let loose what looked to be an enormously satisfying sneeze. A thick mist issued from her face directly downward, raining droplets of biological refuse, visible from three stories up, onto her precious little charge.

She sniffed back some gack and carried on without pause.

Good luck, kid, I thought.

A day later, another woman on the subway let go of the chrome pole she was grasping so she could sneeze at her hand, only half covering her face, and then put it back exactly where it was on that pole. Another woman on the pole, wisely wearing gloves, registered her shock with a flurry of incredulous blinking and stepped aside to join a companion a few feet away.



Today was the first full day of spring. It’s the vernal equinox — in the northern hemisphere, at least.

The word “equinox” reminds me of two things. The first is my birthday, because it falls around, and sometimes smack dab on, the autumnal equinox, six months opposite the vernal.

Galileo was close.

The second is Matthew Modine, because he was in a movie called Equinox in the mid-’90s, which I never saw. I had a big crush on him as a lad. Oh, how I loved to watch him jump rope in Vision Quest. As a kid I found those one-piece wrestler get-ups to be pretty … evocative.

Technically, the equinox is one of two times during the year when day and night are the same length all over because the sun is directly above the equator. You can read more about it and find head-aching terms like “ecliptic equator” and “celestial equator.” All it really means is that we now have a reason to be impatient with the weather for every day we go lower than 60° F. It’s spring, dammit!

I wonder what you would see at the poles on the equinox. Twenty-four hours of sunset?

Pretty close, according to what I read on Wikipedia, which I have no reason at present to doubt. As far as I can figure, we’d see 24 hours of just-before-sunset. These astro-mathematical models work for perfect spheres with no atmosphere in cold, empty space. But real life isn’t so simple. Apparently, day is always longer than night. Because the sun is a huge ball of fire in space, not a single point, when it sinks halfway down past the horizon it’s still day time. Also, because the atmosphere refracts light, it will actually bend the sun’s rays around the curvature of the earth, which is why you can still see for a few minutes after the sun sets.

It’s a good thing the poles aren’t so hospitable to humans, or we’d have a heck of a time getting to work on time.

the untallied hours