01 May 2006

Living color

There is a color that I love, not in the let's-paint-a-wall way, but in the I-can't-wait-to-see-it-again way. It is the emergent green of everyday deciduous trees. Spring green. Tiny blossom-before-leaf green. It dangles beguilingly from a new leaf stem, curved almost flirtatiously toward the ground. Soon that little floret will drop, crushed and forgotten.

Taken in the aggregate, those blooms form a frizzy cloud, a dizzy announcement that everything has changed overnight.

A week hence the leaves become a mature green that excites me somewhat less, pressed flat, pointed, hand-sized . Not so symbolic, much as I adore the whisper of full-grown leaves in tandem, shushing with the breeze.

Spring green to me is all the teenage romances launched when the weather took its warmish turn. It's sunshine that lingers longer, my bedroom window flung open as I sat and looked out at the glimmering early-evening city beyond my perch (this very view, in fact):

It's that smell--you know it?--that says leisure...youth...air...winter is done. Love can begin.

In my heart there's a roster of songs that accompanied the intensity of feeling with a new romance back then. That's because I was sitting in that window with big bubble headphones, to soundtrack the reverie. Play any of those songs now, and I'm right back in it, reveling. But there's also a part of me that was made to remember those times. It's the writer, certainly; the fatherless girl, possibly, who sought to cling to someone; and it's definitely the pop-culture maven who marks everything by the sounds, sights, and preoccupations of an era. Moreover, I had the good fortune to choose worthwhile guys, so my memories of them are largely positive. Not to mention sharply etched into my brain. And fueled, luckily, by a trove of photos that I've saved for decades. Teenage fun and abandon captured in a rectangle. Faces I'll never forget--not because I pine, but because I savor.

April heralded the arrival of my beloved spring green, throughout my young years. When I moved to Maine 23 years ago, I lost that heady month. Hereabouts, April's signal colors are mud-brown and sky-gray. When the spring transition arrives in these northern climes, typically in the first or second week of May, your breath is barely drawn to welcome it when--hello!--summertime pushes its way in. This equals tourists, silver flash and gray exhaust of many out-of-state cars, surprising and sudden hot weather, and tourists. It's upheaval, not transition. Less easy to run towards. (Or maybe that's just what adulthood brings, the speeding of time, the loss of reflection...regardless of my relocation.)

I'm impatient for it anyway.

Partial Roster of Nessa's Spring-Green, Headphone-Blasting Songs:
"I Wanna Go to the Sun"—Peter Frampton
"Your Own Special Way"—Genesis
"Lovely to See You"—Bay City Rollers
"Yes It Is"—The Beatles
"A Little Is Enough"—Pete Townshend
"Dreams—Fleetwood Mac
"Love Alone"—Utopia
"Old Brown Shoe"—The Beatles
"And You and I"—Yes
"You"—Tony Banks
"In the Air Tonight"—Phil Collins
"Don't Stop Believin'"—Journey

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