As spring made itself felt in New York this month, I was reminded of my first “spring” in the American Midwest. After a long, cold winter, we had finally reached warmer temperatures in May. Some friends and I went on a picnic to a park, clad in shorts and sleeveless shirts, carrying baskets full of food that was still odd to me. We spread our blankets on the grass that was gingerly making its way to the surface and enjoyed the sensation of not having our gums freeze while we talked. And right by our blanket, a few feet away, a fat patch of ice melted benignly in the sun over the course of the afternoon.
Winter in New York has been kind and spring in New York has been gentle so far, a few gloomy days notwithstanding. Some overcast skies have made the days feel cooler than they actually were. But the tulips are at attention in gardens everywhere, the earth is freshly turned and ready for more planting, and boughs are dressed in the latest spring collection.
Friends and I have shared a drink on sidewalk patios on busy streets and in open courtyards tucked away behind bars. And if some evenings got a little cool as we lingered over a pint or glass, we have zipped our light sweaters and pretended not to notice.
There have been intermittent rain showers and days of gusty winds. But the rain has been nothing like the thunderous cataracts of the tropics. It’s like a new arrival at a party to which she has an invite but who hovers at the door, uncertain of a welcome. I prefer that guest to one who barges in expecting to be the life of the party and just gets drunker and louder if ignored.
Langston Hughes likes this April rain, too, he says, so here’s “April Rain Song” on this last day of April in New York.
Let the rain kiss you.
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.
Let the rain sing you a lullaby.
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk.
The rain makes running pools in the gutter.
The rain plays a little sleep-song on our roof at night—
And I love the rain.