Bottled here is a taste of spring which arrived in Paris last week. Inside is the sight of flowering trees; the song of birds chirping loudly all day, calling you out to lay in the grass and soak in the warming weather. There are also memories inside, memories I’ll happily share with you of walks along canals lined with Parisians out to soak up the sun––they come out like iguanas, say my friends from Columbia. Can you feel the warmth on your freckling cheeks as you sit outside at a cafe table having doffed your coat? Can you feel your soul lifting and relaxing in the spring air?
Let me apologize beforehand if by writing this I curse someone somewhere, if I bring winter back upon our heads, let it be known I‘m sitting next to the wooden beams that hold up my ceiling and I knock upon them now. Here’s the thing: I can’t believe I’m going a whole year without snow. I’m a bit dazed, I’ve never had a year without snow in my life. I suppose many people would find that wonderful, certainly many who’ve suffered the polar vortexes back in the States, and as a proper North Dakotan I don’t want to seem ungrateful…I just feel…dazed. This winter didn’t rage around me, dominating my life giving me snow days that I treasure as a sweet blessed relief from routine. This winter I was never blinded by white as I looked out the windows of my home. And no one has been able to understand how I’ve been the happiest on the rare nights when the wind howls across the roof that’s two feet from my head. This winter, plus spending a month and a half in the horribly hot Mediterranean last summer really cemented how much I’m a woman from cold northern plains.
Recently I had my two week vacation which I spent traveling Europe. I’d harbored secret little hopes that Germany or at least Denmark would have a little snow. Denmark did have a more bitter cold and less daylight than anything else I’ve experienced this winter but still all I got was some light rain. One night, when there was no rain, we drove out to a beach. It was seven or eight at night, pitch dark with no stars or moon breaking through. The pale sand faded away not far from us into the sound of the Baltic Sea we couldn’t distinguish from the black sky. It was like standing at the edge of a terrifying and beautiful hungry nothing. With everything so dark, would you realize how close you were to waters edge before it was too late? Before it ate you up and sucked you into its lonely vastness? It was as close as I’ll ever get to my dream of returning to earth in 10 billion years to see the blackest sky that envelopes when the stars have drifted too far away for anyone but butterflies to see their shining light. The Baltic Sea at night was possibly better, though, because of the sound of waves rolling invisibly in and out.
PS. Here's an actual photo from my trip to tide you over as I slowly pull myself together.