Lyon

27 – Springtime

It was written by me a few weeks ago that the worst of the winter was over and we could look forward to the spring. Naturally as soon as I wrote that and stepped outside, I was knocked down by a gale, frozen solid by the cold, and buried under twenty tonnes of snow from a falling blizzard.

However, today is the first day of Spring. It says so in this blog. It’s official.

The first clue is that everybody starts wearing sunglasses, or at least looking at them on those shaky plastic carousels outside gift shops. The second is that everybody dispenses with their padded jackets and instantly looks three stone lighter. The third is the gradual creep of a smile up the side of everybody’s face. Even Mr. Morose living in his padded jacket in Moroseville grins once at this time of year.

Yes, everybody looks like shit from the relentless wind, the darkness and the cold, but at least those cracked lips can loosen up a bit and give a smile at the golden sun. It did make an appearance a few weeks ago but to little effect; as though on low burn. Today however, it turned itself up a notch or two and at lunchtime as I sat on the wall outside where I work my skin registered heat. Not the false heat of a radiator or a hot bath, but the real heat of the blazing sun.

It always amazes me how quickly the change comes about. They are always false starts to this season. ‘It’s springtime; no it isn’t; it’s springtime, no it isn’t.’ Then one day it really is and everybody knows it. Just like the birds and the bees.

Glances are no longer pushed away or ignored. They are acted upon swiftly. Smiles, grins and winks are thrown across supermarket aisles, or in parks near ice cream kiosks and candy floss stalls. No one is embarrassed to show their face anymore as the sun illuminates everything. Just that few hours of warmth sitting on a wall in the embryonic spring sun makes us all look flusher and feel bolder in an instant.

It’s funny how it works, but it happens every year. Walking back from work, there’s absolutely no mistaking the change in mood. As though somebody had been going round telling everyone the secret to hidden treasure, such were the crowds on the banks of the Rhone today. Had I missed something? The Second Coming? Is it Easter already?

I say that because yesterday at this time, there were perhaps 10 people here. Today, there are in excess of 200, maybe more. Sitting in total exhilaration. I felt almost annoyed. ‘Oh Yeh, where were you all in the heart of winter as I sat here watching hell freeze over. In your beds no doubt with your steaming cups of cocoa and crumpet rolls. Now, look at you with your sunglasses and sleeveless tops.

I don’t really think that; just a passing thought. I’m glad. Things are back to where they were when I first arrived here in September. Not quite as hot, but the feeling is the same. Better in fact. The end of the summer is always tinged with the dread of winter, whereas the beginning of spring causes no such worries. No more snow, wind or ice…

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