Soon

by Shelly King
There’s a Japanese maple that sits outside my apartment window. Right now it’s bursting with pink blooms and deep red leaves. I came home crabby from work today, but on my way to the mailbox, a breeze shook the limbs and I was showered in a pink petals. They fell in my hair and on my shoulders like whispers saying “soon, soon.” It gave me a case of the giggles.

Spring is coming. I have to step outside to judge if I need a jacket. Sidewalk tables along Castro Street are full. When I open my front door, my indoor cat scurries past me for a few precious moments of sunshine before something moves and she runs back inside. Today a neighbor asked me what we’re doing for Easter.

Soon windows will open, barbeques will be planned, and margarita machines will come out of storage. I’ll start hearing the distant cheers from the baseball field off Miramonte. I’ll have to decide what kind of tomatoes to plant this year.

There’s a lot to be said about Spring. Renewal, rebirth. It’s all been said before. But I think it’s mostly the change I crave, the anticipation. In the Fall, I love the crisp air with its promise of hot toddies, rich stews, and the holidays. In Spring it’s the blooms and the sun and the rich earth plump with rain. Winter and Summer are just plateaus of what Fall and Spring build to. They are like an old movie I watch over and over. Spring and Fall keep me guessing. They get my attention.

I grew up back East with much more extreme versions of the seasons, and many of my fellow expatriates complain we don’t really have seasons here in the Bay Area. But I disagree. The seasons in the East are swelling operas. Our seasons here are string quartets. They aren’t muted, just subtle.

I’m in a coffee shop downtown while I write this. The door is open, but it’s not too cold. In a few months, it’ll be hard to find a unoccupied table in here at this time of night. I’ll be ordering an iced coffee drink instead of a hot one. I’ll pin my hair off my neck. But tonight, there’s just those whispers in the air that comes in the open door. We’re not there yet. It’s only just now starting to change. Soon, soon.

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