“Every time the seasons change, it reminds me of being somewhere else,” I told my husband. We had just walked past our millionth crocus (they’re everywhere now, littering the strips of grass between sidewalk and street like candy wrappers, only beautiful).
“Is that weird?” I asked. He shrugged–he knows better than to actually answer that question.
But is it? In one sense, I feel the seasons should ground me deeply where I am. I feel, specifically, this dirt between my toes, this side of the sun on my face, this flower petal, soft enough to crumble to pieces under my thumb. Yet at the same time, the special attention I pay to place when a season shifts keeps me going backwards, to other places I’ve lived and loved, as soon as the air changes.
I remember, studying in Freiburg during the spring semester of my junior year in college, stepping off the train after a week in Spain and reeling at the new air, which had grown palpably thicker while I was gone, rich with scent and weight. Sterile winter chill had given way to a cacophony of buds on every tree, a riot of birdsong, black dirt. “It happened so fast,” I thought at the time. “I went away, and I missed it.”
Here in Stuttgart, spring means:
- Tables set out at the Biergarten
- Children digging in sand and whooping down slides while their parents sit on benches and shade their eyes at the Spielplatz
- Farmers tilling the soil in the fields by our apartment
- Crocuses everywhere
I love it, but even as I snap pictures and tip my head back to catch more sun, I can also picture spring in Michigan as though I’m living there, not here:
- Flip flops and shorts everywhere because it’s finally 55 degrees
- A few tiny traces of snow clinging, only in the very shadiest spots, to…grass!
- Magnolias bursting to life, then fluttering down to carpet the street with their sweet rotting leaves
- The first cautious trips to the beach. And the sound of waves without ice.
When seasons change, I’m prone to intense nostalgia and intense appreciation of where I am. Sometimes I’m home, sometimes I’m here. I like having both.