22 February is officially the date that denotes spring. It was 1985. I was there for about two months. So much had happened. As if the world was spinning too fast. I was still learning to get a grip of the situation. Everything was new to me. What I saw was newer and newer everyday. What I heard was news all the way. Slowly the ice thawed. It started to melt. Water running here and there. Thinner and thinner. The ice was gone. Then the unexpected happened. It seemed by February I and my family had setteled down. Settling fast. There was a lot to do. A lot to learn. Everything was in place. Life had gone rather smoothly. My study was picking up. Getting the taste of American lives. Sampling every bit of it. A life time experience. Nothing to be taken for granted.
Long ago I heard about Spring. As a small boy I could just wonder. Not able to imagine. It was not in my vocabulary. Something that was never in my mind. I was so naïve. A real kampung boy. Never aspiring to be something different. There was not the slightest inkling that one day I would be in the US. Asa a kampung boy my only wish was to live happily. In whatever form. Wishing everything to run as norm. Not to be different at all. When reality confronted me I found that Spring was a time of joy. Flowers everywhere. A beautiful sight. One that must not be missed. To be treasured. To the young, love would be in the air. Blossoming with bountiful colours. The book said so. I took it as it was. Never realising the reality of it. It never occured to me that Spring was different from what I perceived. I agree, seeing was believing. Being there in Pittsburgh made me realise that experience was comparable to none. As Socrettes said, reality exists even in the mind. Yet, seeing and real life experience summed it all. There was no substitute for experience. Real life experience. It felt good. Fresh and refreshing. It was enlightening. Everything seemed very light. A lifting sensation from that heavy snow the previous season. That was the past. Spring was the present. The in thing. I thought I could never live to see this day.
That particular morning, for the first time I could hear birds singing. Chirping around the neighbourhood. The song of Spring. For the past two months the land was so barren. The trees was so barren. Nothing left on the trees. Every single leaf was discarded. Fell to the ground. Completing its cycle. Ecology. Generation after generation. Emitting oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide. The system that allows man and his environment to survive together. Forming a bond of partnership not to be separated. Ecology will be destroyed it that happens. After being absent for a few months, the chirping of birds was most welcome. Yes! Spring was there. Spring was in the air. The change of weather was an education by it self. I was learning non-stop. Everyday was a new day. Something new is to be expected. Always full of anticipation. I came in Winter. And it was only Spring. I had yet to experience Summer and Fall. Anxious and full of dire expectation.
Days later things simply became much different. Suddenly flowers were everywhere. Sprouting out of nowhere. Flowers were on the ground. On every space available. Blooming with colours. Different sizes. Different parttern. They were small flowers befitting the plant that were expected to show itself later on. Flowers were also sprouting from brances and twigs. Bunches of them. Every branch and twig was covered with flowers. When I landed at Pittsburgh the trees were already bare. The ground bare. Now it was moment of great anticipation. What shape would the leaves be? How would the plants look like? I was very anxious. Anxiously waiting for plants to grow. For the trees to bear leaves. It took weeks for that to happen. By that time the flowers were a spectrum of colours. Pleasing the eyes. It was so beautiful. Flowers and flowers everywhere. Every trees. So much were dedicated to Spring. Season of much activities. People were starting to warm their bodies. Warmed their hearts. More people were moving about. Children started pouring out of their houses. Filling the streets after schools. During the last winter those streets were deserted. Every soul was indoors. Avoiding the coldness of Winter.
Alas there was something that made Spring not as beautiful as expected. There was some drawbacks. Setbacks to some people. For one rains were more frequent. Mind you, the water was very cold because the temperature was still low in Spring. It was not fun to be caught in the rain. Shivering for sure. In Spring pollens were flying in the air. It was never a pleasure for some. There came sinus problems. People would be sneezing around. Flu here and there. Headache to some. Coughing for others. Maybe migrane. Fun but with some reservations. Still waiting for better sunlight. Waiting for the temperature to rise and rise. Waiting for Summer. Still a long time away.
Why the terminology Spring? What was there to understand about Spring? You will never know without experiencing it. Day in day out the temperature kept changing. Up and down. Not on different days. It can happened within a single day. It could be warm in the morning but the temperature could dip so low in the afternoon that you have to wear your winter attire again. At least your overcoat. What I learned was that although the temperature fluctuated, its ups was greater than its downs. You can expect that the coming days the temperature would be warmer than previously. Not everday but most of it. Polar winds can still come sweeping the land. Dipping the temperature down tremendously. Sometimes unbelievableably very low. Imagine from 56º the temperature could plunged down to -15º.
At first I felt funny. There was a special channel on TV. A real special channel. That channel was about weather only. Only weather day in and day out. 24 hours. Seven days a week. 365 day a year. Nothing but weather. Americans were so concerned about weather. About temperature. Before they retire for the night they would study the temperature for the whole day tomorrow. In fact for the whole of the coming week. Early the next morning they would refer to the weather channel again before they started for work. It was to confirm what was predicted the previous day. Thus they were always prepared for whatever changes in weather and temperatures. They could bring their umbrellas, overcoats, jackets, gloves and a host of others. Just to be prepared. The weather was very localized. Seldom ventured beyond a particular town or city. Very very exclusive.
The ground would be soggy. Water everywhere. Running here and there. Melting snow and ice. Not really a beautiful sight. The flowers were. But not the ground. It would be after some times things were changing for the better. Once the snow and ice were gone, leaves would be growing on branches. On twigs. On the ground. Then only I could match the flowers and the leaves. A full concept that was previously could only be imagined. The melting snow was gone from brances and twigs. Instead there were leaves and flowers blooming. An array of colours. Sprouting. Dangling. Birds would swarmed on those flowers seeking nectars. They become agents of repoduction. Pollination. Ecology at its best. Spring was like a song. Beautiful and harmonised itself with expectant happiness. Happy to be there. Happy to experience Allah’s creation. Seeking His pleasure. Alhamdulillah.
I was lucky to experience Spring. The beauty of it. I enjoyed every moment of it. Those colours. Abundant around. A bit electrifying. For those able to travel to Washington DC, the capital, they were lucky because only in Washington they could see cherry blossom. A beautiful flower indeed. People were making a beeline for Washington just to winness that beautiful flower. I could still feel those two Springs. Never been satisfied. Wishing to come back and relive that Spring. After 26 years Spring is still in my heart. Wait, the other seasons were simply fabulous. I still have a lot to write about. A little longer perhaps. Have patience please.