It’s that time of year again! The leaves are budding from the trees, filling up the formerly barren branches, and soaring skyward toward the sun’s rays. The mornings are cool and the afternoons are pleasant. There’s an aura of warmth in the air, but its nicely balanced by the remnants of winter’s chill. Soon the air will be full of the smell of flowers, of germination and pollination as the winds of spring begin to blow. At least, that’s what it will be like across the country where I’m from. Here, that actually started months ago and continues on today.
When I was a kid, I loved spring, and not much has really changed since then. I was born in the spring, right smack in the middle. The cycle of my life started there and every year I’m reborn along with nature as it sheds what little is left of its winter stasis. The intensity of spring has waned for me in the last few years as I now live in a place where the freeze of winter is non-existent and the relief from its chill barely registers. I remarked a few weeks ago about how the seasons around the turn of the year work in Northern California: it’s fall in December, then two weeks after the new year– suddenly, spring. It’s still weird to me that that spring feeling happens in February; when I started my latest job six weeks ago, it felt so much like spring that I felt obligated to tap into my music and embiggen that experience. Like I have for fall, there are certain songs inextricably tied to the season (updated and expanded periodically):
- Alice in Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here (2013)
- Coldplay – Ghost Stories (2014)
- Coldplay – Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008)
- Death Cab For Cutie – Codes & Keys (2011)
- Death Cab For Cutie – Narrow Stairs (2008)
- Death Cab For Cutie – Transatlanticism (2006)
- Elliott Smith – From A Basement on the Hill (2007)
- Elliott Smith – New Moon (2007)
- Emancipator – Safe In The Steep Cliffs (2010)
- Muse – Absolution (2005)
- The National – Boxer (2014)
- The National – High Violet (2014)
- Pinback – Summer in Abaddon (2005)
- Shinkichi Mitsumune – Yugioh Duel Monsters Original Soundtrack (the entire soundtrack is just fantastic. I watched the whole original Japanese anime back in 2010 and the music is a big reason why)
- Snow Patrol – Final Straw (2005)
- Straylight Run – Straylight Run (2005)
- Tori Amos – American Doll Posse (2007)
- Tori Amos – Unrepentant Geraldines (2014)
Most of these pieces are linked to my waning years of high school and the lake in the mid-naughts, having a blast with my girlfriend at the time; the rest belong to my spring semesters in college. A lot of them wash over me with a warm aura, especially when that first tangible wave of heat hits after winter.
Unfortunately, I can’t say I’ve really imparted spring to anything I’ve listened to in California in my three springs here. If I have, it’s not nearly as strong as it was back in New York. This made a lot more sense before the spring of 2014 happened. I’ve strongly imprinted California spring on several batches of music in the meantime.
A lot of wonderful things have happened during the spring. My resurgence into hockey fandom was largely driven by the Buffalo Sabres playoff runs in the springs of 2006 and 2007. I can’t believe how much I miss that 2005-06 team. As I’ve mentioned before, the first time I fell in love was in the fall, but that led to my first real relationship the following spring. I graduated high school that year, which previously held the title of best year of my life. The next year was the end of my freshman year of college, the lovely period leading into one of my favorite summers ever. Springs in college actually varied quite a bit, between good and bad relationships (seems like a trend…), the stress of the end of the semester, and time spent soaking in the sun, binging on anime (see above).
Spring is when everything comes alive. The dormant creatures come out from their hibernation under the snow. In college, the quads, plazas, and athletic fields became populated by students having fun, the soccer seasons turned bearable as the turf thawed, and the heat of the sun felt so damn good. Moods elevated.
It’s weird that this period isn’t really a thing for me anymore. Don’t get me wrong, it does get cold here too, just not that cold. Spring hits early and quickly. Right now it’s still around, mostly because it’s actually raining for once, but it’s soon to change to summer. A few days ago I took a walk outside around my office. It was cool, with somewhat threatening puffy clouds dotting the sky. The wind was strong, yet slightly warm. There wasn’t much sun and I thought I could have gotten drenched by a torrent any second. Still, it was wonderful.
Where spring back home is relief from the frozen tendrils of winter, here it’s the last comfort before the coming assault of the long summer. Maybe that’s why I like autumn here so much too. In any case, spring, while it’s probably only my second favorite season, certainly seems to usurp the top spot when it’s happening. It’s a beautiful sight in the valley when the hills turn green. I hope they stay that way for another six months this year. That would be terrific. Drought be damned, spring is here.