Spring seems to be in a hurry to leave; it has only been a few weeks since it arrived in St. Louis and threw down its bags, scattering bright red, yellow and purple tulips along the streets, and flinging pale pink and white blossoms up on trees. The warm, humid days that give way to sudden showers, coats and boots replaced with shorts and shorter shorts. Restaurants and cafes expand out onto the curb and you have to thread your way through people sipping iced tea and spooning salsa on their tortilla chips but since it is so beautiful outside you don’t mind and everything is great…
… till suddenly it is too hot. Every hour it climbs up a degree and suddenly you’re sweating in your apartment even though the fan is on and you’re in a tank top and shorts. Ninety degrees in the first week of April? It’s global warming, fret your teachers who have spent many summers and springs in St. Louis.
You just got here, Mr. Spring, you really don’t need to wrap up so quickly. But already, most of the tulips are gone and the blossoms have been replaced with leafy greenness. Not that summer is so bad, at least in its initial stages when you enjoy the warm wind on your skin, and feel all light and airy because you’re not weighed down by a jacket half your body mass; ice makes its way into tea, cream, soda, and the evenings are perfect for walks down Delmar to get Froyo.
And the outside movie screenings and free concerts will start; and then the thunderstorms that light up the sky and shake the windowpanes…
It reminds me of home, really, the humidity, then the coolness in the air because of the rain, and since we’re students here and don’t have much money we don’t switch the central air-conditioning on and it is even more like home where electricity is a privilege that even the privileged have to do without every now and then. So we open the windows or just sprawl in minimum clothing in the lounge, ignoring the pile of assignments and to-do lists for as long as possible.
[The one thing that is missing is the smell of rain. I don’t know why but the intoxicating, wet, earthy fragrance that emanates from the ground before a storm just doesn’t seem to exist here… and how I miss it. The memory of it is so tangible I can almost fool myself into believing I can smell it…the cool, dusty smell that is a promise of good things to come, and no matter how deeply you inhale you cannot get enough of it, and if I could, I would breathe it in and it would replace the blood in my body and become a permanent part of me…]
And of course, the bugs wake up, spiders crawl out of their little holes and bees and flies find their way inside through cracks; wasps wait till you’re comfortably sitting with at least four different things around you in the balcony and then zoom towards your face, enjoying the panicked scrambling that ensues. Sadistic creatures.
Butterflies, ladybugs, caterpillars, and strange wispy orange flies. It is time to plan a picnic and quick, before we have to give in to air conditioning.