The first day of spring is March 20. At least that is what the calendar tells us. We in the northern climes know it is a ruse; really, it’s just another day on the calendar, something for us to notice and then disregard. The sun may be shining, but we are still wearing our winter coats, and looking skyward for the next big dump of snow. It’s all pretty disheartening.
As a way of getting a jump on spring, my husband, John, and I took a trip to Florida last week. Funny, residents of Florida also see March 20 as just another day on the calendar. They have an everlasting spring (although I am told their summers are every bit as brutal as our winters.)
This year, we were lucky enough to procure a rental cottage just a few blocks from the beach. The lovely beach, with all its gentle waves, sugar-fine sand, and sun. And let’s not forget warmth. We could hardly wait to shed our jeans and sweatshirts and put on our shorts for our daily walk on the beach.
The thing is, just when you start to think you are the only one feeling the sting of our polar landscape, you find that indeed, you are not alone. Turns out there are masses of people, looking for the warmth and beauty of the beach. Masses. John and I took to calling it the human highway. Throngs of Northerners walking the beach. Obeying the laws of the highway – pass on the left, veer around little kids and sand castles, we are a polite, sun-starved bunch. And, the thing is, it seems that none of us really cared that our bit of paradise was claimed by so many others. We’re all in this together.
At the grocery store that afternoon, I could hear the Muzak version of “The Girl from Ipanema” playing in the background. You know, “Tall and tan and young and lovely, the girl from Ipanema goes walking, and when she passes, each one she passes goes ‘ah’!" Now, that made me chuckle. Because on this conveyor belt of very pale, very jiggly people, the girl from Ipanema would indeed be noticed. Or completely hidden from view.
Still, I am not complaining. Not one bit. I got warmth and sunshine that I so desperately needed. It just turns out that I am not the only one trying to get escape the cold. Even the girl from Ipanema needs a little sunshine.