The New England winter that never was has erupted into spring. We’re not talking about a shy ingenue entry. The trees look like a heavy-handed stylist showered them in red buds, then delicate new leaves. Daffodils shot out of the ground, grinned for about a week, and exited. Eager peonies moved onstage. The wildlife has been equally rambunctious. Mosquitos showed up last month; ditto for the horror of pet-owners, ticks. The goldfish in our decorative pool waggle around with pregnant bellies. And to the delight of my husband, and my horror, a writhing ball of garter snakes left its lair and rolled onto our lawn.
It’s spring and I’m realizing that I forget from year to year how exuberant it can be. We’re programmed so that our bodies can’t remember pain–otherwise there would only be one-child families. Are we also programmed to forget the delicious velvet touch of spring breezes; the scent of chlorophyll rushing through trees; the way people smile at each other when the cold is not freezing them to the core?
Makers of artificial scents that are pumped into household cleaners try to capture the essence with names like “spring breeze” but there is nothing of spring, or breeze, in the chemical formulas. It cannot be recreated; cannot be remembered.
I’ve been working with a video crew on a project that asks “what’s one thing you never want to forget?” We’ve been testing the question on focus groups. The answers have ranged from the profound “who I am” to the sweet “my wedding day” and comical “my password.” And everything in between. What would you answer?
What’s one thing I never want to forget? This moment. If I cannot remember from year to year this bliss of sun-warm-growth-life that is spring, then I want to be in the moment. This moment right now and every moment I have. When I’m sitting on our screened porch in the evening, listening to the owls in the woods — that’s exactly the moment. When I’m walking through Park Slope in Brooklyn with my daughter, I do not want to forget her New York City stride, the shop doors flung open and the joy of being her mother. When I’m snuggled up to my husband on the couch after a long day, I want to remember that he is there every night. When a friend calls, I want to remember my gasp of pleasure when I hear her voice.
I can remember this moment, now.