Spring morning.

Few people who know me would say I love this time of year. It’s cold, and I hate the cold. It’s windy, and I don’t really like the wind. And while I don’t mind the rain, spring rains are simply dampness with cold and generally miserable. Most of all, though the sun is coming back, there’s not nearly enough of it yet. Every day I still wear my giant winter coat. But this morning was perfect. The air was frigid, yes, but at least the sun was finally bright enough to seem welcoming. It gave the air more than a crispness – the morning seemed more honest, more real. And to complete that moment of walking to the bus through the perfect morning, I had the perfect song.

I am not usually a person to comment on music.  I don’t like talking about it, and though I enjoy it, I especially detest any discussion of favorites related to music.  It’s a blind insecurity I haven’t yet completely dealt with in myself.  But occasionally a song or album will have such an impact tha I feel the need to talk about it.  Portastatic’s Be Still, Please is that album.  I bought the thing because one song, Sweetness and Light, so perfectly captured my mood at the moment I was listening to it on the radio that I had to have the whole album.  I rarely listen to the radio, but on this one morning, I heard the perfect song for the day.

Of course, I ended up not liking most of the other songs on the album.  I ended up not listening to it much, and put the whole album on my iPod just recently to make myself listen to it more.  And then today, with the same album but a different song, it happens again.  The mood just strikes me perfectly, and I am ready to sink into the day.

I don’t have a handy copy of the song with me, so I’m putting the Youtube video below.  I encourage you to just close your eyes and listen to it – don’t let the video detract.

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Sunlight makes things better

I have recently made a commitment to myself to try and observe more of the world around me on a daily basis. It’s true, that I live in an old city, so there’s built-up infrastructure and concrete everywhere, but even the ugliest part of city life can have redeeming qualities.

Today for me it was the snow remainder. I don’t mean the still-white patches that were glowing in the sun, or the gentle drip of the melting eaves of houses. I mean the gross stuff that’s been churned up from the streets liberally coated and mixed with motor oil. It’s the kind of big messy piles that you really hope you don’t even have to walk across for fear of contamination. When the sun hits them just right, the icy surface places refract like crystals, like strange geodes embedded in a duller, more sullen rock matrix.

It made me think about the sun in general – how long-ago peoples, my ancestors, worshiped its return in spring, dancing or singing or otherwise recalling it to life and vigor. It reminds me of the way grass looks greener in the afternoon. It reminds me if I want to paint color, I should do it in the afternoon, when the angle of the light reveals the world at it’s richest. I don’t know the principles of why this is true. Like the flintknappers of the past, I don’t know the physics of the thing, I just know that if you hit the rock here, it will carry the force through to there, splitting and cracking along a certain plane of force.

When I wake up in the morning now, it’s still to a vague dawn light. It makes me want to crawl back under the covers again. But by the time I’ve gotten ready and stepped outside to walk to the bus stop, the sun is up and smiling. It puts a little jig in my step.