Tuesday, March 29, 2016

March 29: Dishevelment

Walking home the long way, my eyes refused to rest on the horizon. I'm tired of the sombre grey clouds and the skeletal trees. Every so often a gust of wind would send a leaf skittering across the pavement like a mouse. But it was never a mouse. It was the detritus of the autumn long past: leathery oak leaves, lacy half-rotten beech leaves, the occasional strip of birch bark, tumbling down the sidewalk to adorn half-dead lawns or snag in the branches of the winter-barren hedges.

And then, oh yes! under the leaves and behind the deadwood, I'd catch a flash of bright green or a little patch of purple. My heart would lift at the thought of tender leaves and tiny crocuses, and I'd squint and look harder, only to have it drop at the sight of a scrap of cardboard or a discarded plastic bag. That's spring in Nova Scotia for you: hope, elation and disappointment, all jumbled together like mulch.

It felt exactly like when you're walking through a crowd and you unexpectedly catch glimpse of one of your familiars. Just the sight of the back of their head, maybe, or the cadence of their walk; a whiff of perfume or the timbre of a laugh. Heart quickening, knowing it can't be true, you pick up the pace anyway...only to get closer and see that no, of course, it's not them. Sometimes it's almost too much to bear.

But sometimes you do see a familiar face, one that breaks into a grin at the sight of you. And sometimes you round a corner and find a sheltered garden with a southern exposure, home to a fistful of the palest mauve crocuses, a wee clump of snowdrops, heads bobbing, and a forsythia bush full of the promise of spring.

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