There are two statements that are so controversial that they probably shouldn’t be uttered while in the company of others.
The first one: I really don’t like dogs.
The second one: Spring tends to give me the blues.
But nonetheless, in the case of me, both are true.
Let’s not dwell too long on the dog-thing, no good can come of that, but move on to the spring-thing.
Have you ever been at a party that by all known-to-man standards was perfect? Great music, lovely friends, good food, and perfectly mixed drinks, yet somehow you still felt uncomfortable in your own skin and out-of-place? That’s how I feel whenever spring comes along.
But how can you not be ecstatic over the warmer weather, the return of the light, the blooming trees and flowers, the fresh produce? Those are very good questions, and from a rational point of view, I can see why it would defy all logic. I mean, once again we stick our noses out from under the covers of winter hibernation, we feel the warmth return to our frozen bones, we shed the heavy winter clothes and replace them with lighter ones, and finally rosé can be enjoyed in generous quantities on any flat-ish surface elevated more than 10 feet above the foundation of New York City, also know as the rooftop. I get it.
It just so happens that I love winter. I thrive in the cold - In fact, the colder the better! I love the long dark evenings surrounded by an excess amount of candles spread out all over my apartment. I love the furious storms, and I love the snow. More than anything, I love the snow. I can’t think of anything more magical and peaceful than a heavy snow fall. Standing by the window wrapped in a blanket, watching the snow come down monotonously and hypnotic, transforming the world from a chaotic mess of colors and contrasts into a perfectly serene ocean of monochromatic whiteness, makes me feel at ease. For a short while there’s order out there. Immaculate, uninterrupted order.
Maybe it’s because I’m a photographer, and my eyes and mind are trained to observe and process every little piece of information, attempting to fit it all into some kind of frame. This is something that over time has becomes involuntary and beyond my own control, it’s exhausting to be honest, so when finally everything around me just looks the same, my senses can rest for a bit (Until I jet down the stairs to plunge myself into the largest pile of driven snow I can find, of course. Is there anything more awesome)?
Yes, I do recognize why the argument against snow would be the nasty, grayish slush that follows, but with the right pair of boots, you can walk right through those ankle-deep torrents of snowmelt that align the sidewalks, and still ascend onto the pavement safe and dry.
Try this on for size: The other day it was a balmy 73 degrees. I was sprinting around the city, packing what felt like a hundred pounds of camera equipment, laptop and, at the end of the day, groceries. Which is a pretty common scenario in my life. All around me people were sporting that familiar, slightly deranged, grin of someone feeling re-born after a long winter, donning shorts and t-shirts, looking mighty gleeful. I, on the other hand, was panting and sweating (like a dog, I guess), feeling utterly uncomfortable. That same morning I was woken up at dawn by a mischievous gang of neighborhood birds, serving as ominous messengers of the impending doom that is A/C-season. No more open windows or any kind of fresh air supply for months on end. Upon leaving your house you get hit in the face by that vicious fist of humidity, only to enter the subway, and I guess I don’t need to elaborate on that…
Spring is a prelude to all this, but it’s actually not fair to blame spring for the horrors of summer.
So why so blue? It’s hard to say exactly what it is, but I believe it - as so much in life - can trace back to when I was a kid. The long, dark winter evenings would prompt us - my mother, father, brother and I - to (metaphorically speaking) huddle together in the living room to watch tv, read books or just talk. The darkness outside - and the candles inside - provided a sense of comfort, and I was able to keep track of the pack. We would Hygge, if you will (I’m Danish, I’m allowed to use that word).
When spring arrived everyone would scatter outside, the kids would play in the street after dinner, and the grown-ups would do garden work or other types of outdoor gown-up stuff. Idyllic and actually quite perfect, when I think about it. However, there was something about going to sleep in my still dimly lit room - somewhere in between day and night - that seemed unsettling. Mind you, in Denmark the sun doesn’t set until very late during those months, and the odd shadows dancing on the walls and the ceiling, combined with the noises of activities from our and the neighboring gardens sent my brain into overdrive, often resulting in some pretty outlandish dreams, once I actually fell asleep. I would try to stay awake for as long as I could, to succumb to sleep only when assured that everyone was back in the house, safely settling in for the night.
Of course that time of year was - and is - also full of wonderful experiences and happy days and nights. Especially growing into a teenager the season would provide the opportunity to stay out late, bike around the town with friends, and meet up on the playground to drink beer and smoke cigarettes. And I do appreciate both birds and flowers. But there’s something about the onset of spring that still to this day gives me the blues. Is that a bad thing? Not in the least. It’s something that I’ve come to love and embrace, and a reminder of why I need so badly to live in a hemisphere where the seasons will forever change.