We’ve had a strange Spring in Washington this year. For the most part, it seems to me, it was unusually cold; I kept having to wear gloves when I walked the dog in the mornings. Then, quite suddenly last week, we had a couple of days of summertime weather, with temperatures near ninety degrees in the afternoons. Those days were a reminder: Be careful of what you wish for.
And then came damp and chilly days again. We feel Spring coming on, but we’ve only known a few of those days when it’s impossible to stay indoors, when the sidewalks and parks are full of people, and when indolence seems to be required.
But look: the dogwood and redbud and tulip magnolia and azalea are in bloom, the cherries are losing their petals, and the robin’s nest in our dogwood is being refurbished. Spring is coming, but differently—I remind myself—than most years. I ought to learn to appreciate the difference.
And sure enough, as I was riding with my wife in slow traffic this morning, I noticed that the wet rear windshield of the SUV in front of us was covered with a random pattern of pink cherry-blossom petals. The windshield looked like a sketch for something to be executed in gold leaf on a piece of Japanese lacquer ware. When I arrived home, I saw the lavender irises blooming in our front garden, and our box turtle, newly emerged from hibernation, lumbering around the patio garden. These are all subjects for drawing that weren’t available a month ago, and I realize that soon I’ll be able to draw those boulders along the creek that caught my eye in January, and the dogwood whose blossoms seem to be floating in the atmosphere surrounding the tree.
Aren’t we lucky, that we can call ourselves artists, and get away with it?