s1e6: Spring in Love
warm weather, half-clad college boys, a motorcycle ride, and a screening of "Henry V"
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In New England, spring hits like an amphetamine.
It’s the forever-winter that makes it like this—the months and months of frozen and sunless days that leech every last ounce of your vitality until you think you’ll never feel human again. Until . . . at the last possible moment, just when you’ve given up the last of your hopes and dreams, there comes a sudden paroxysm of light and warmth. There is water in New England, and good soil, so when this gentle conflagration happens, all of the dormant living things wake up and race out into the great glad greening season, trampling the pale, dutiful daffodils, and thrusting their myriad fronds, stems, shoots, and buds skyward. Lilac, magnolia and azalea shout their colors. Fruit trees wave branches heavy with showy blooms, sending sprays of yellow-green pollen to coat windshields and street gutters. Even the evergreens get a little crazy during this time, stretching phthalo green fingertips from otherwise stately branches.
The whole world goes from dead mud-brown to outrageously viridescent in a matter of weeks.
In the early nineties, when I came to New England from the arid and sparsely vegetated high plains of Wyoming, I had never seen anything like spring in a fertile climate. Cold winters and heavy snowfall I was used to. A world in which everything was redolent and propagating was altogether new. I was nineteen, going to college was already the most exciting thing that had ever happened to me, and now here was this brightly renewing world, right up to and including the blossoming, begetting, sweetly-scented air that I was breathing. It was the maximum dopamine effect.
By mid-May of my freshman year, I had traded my base layers, boots, and parka for airy sundresses or tank tops and shorts and had grown used to walking around campus showing more skin than I ever had back at home. My friends and I took to spending our weekday afternoons studying on the Green—which meant taking our books and notebooks out of our backpacks and placing them on the blanket next to us where they stayed, unopened. We pulled the straps of our bikini tops off of our shoulders, so we wouldn’t get tan lines and lay on our backs, looking up at the sheltering elms, and talked idly of our classes and our friends. Sometimes we sat up instead, stretching our bare legs and feet out in front of us, and watched shirtless fraternity brothers play frisbee in their neon running shorts.
On Saturdays, my boyfriend and I would go out for rides on his motorcycle, winding our way around the back roads of rural New Hampshire.
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