Sunday, May 6, 2018

What Happened to Spring?


Ordinarily, the first few glimpses of spring send me into inspiration spiral; the days are longer and the sun reveals itself more, and so it makes sense to fill the days with more adventures, to spend more time outdoors, to make spontaneous decisions like chopping off a significant percentage of my hair or traveling somewhere unplanned for the weekend. 

And yet, this year there has been no spring.

Last week, the temperature hovered around 50 degrees and clouds stubbornly covered every inch of sky. And this week, suddenly, the sunshine is relentlessly bright and the air is a consistent 90 degrees every afternoon.

Never much of a summer fan, I'm not particularly thrilled by this change in the elements, but this year the return to the heat and the long hours of sunshine bring back a sense of familiarity.

Even though I've only lived in the D.C. area for a little over four months, I spent a full three months here last summer, and so as the temperatures rise the flood of summer memories washes over me: walking through the Smithsonians on hot afternoons, eating picnic falafel salad lunches on the Mall, tracking down coffee shops hidden in the city's many neighborhoods, sitting with my legs dipped in a fountain listening to jazz bands play in the sculpture garden on Friday nights, watching Shakespeare plays from a theater's balcony level, trying seasonal lunch options at new restaurants every Tuesday with the other interns, enjoying happy hour specials at Jaleo and High Rise, and waking up far too early in the morning for far too many bakery shifts. 

As the seasons change, I feel less like I'm covering new ground every day and more like I can anticipate what's coming. D.C. thrives in the summer; many of the neighborhoods and local institutions host community events in the evenings, and having been here and done it all before, I feel more like a real resident than a visitor.

At the same time, this year is completely different. Last summer I was hung in the balance between whether I'd be staying in D.C. or going elsewhere come fall, so I soaked in as much of D.C. as I could, often on my own rather than waiting for others to have the availability to join me. This year, I know I'm not going anywhere anytime soon, and I know more people, and so the beginning of summer is already filled with concrete and tentative plans with friends to attend a Nats game, drive to the beach in Delaware, enjoy post-church lunches in Crystal City, and explore more local parks.

For possibly the first time, I'm looking forward to the summer season rather than dreading it, and I'm excited for what the coming months will bring.

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