There is one day a year I wait for with more anticipation than a five year-old waiting for Christmas, than a 17 year-old boy waiting to lose his virginity, than a 50 year-old police man waiting to retire: the day leaves return to trees. Every Spring I forget when this magical awakening happened the year before. As the Ides of March pass, I wake up giddy with anticipation. I peer out my window, searching for greenery but so far I’m met by naked trees and maybe a naked neighbor across the courtyard (and by “courtyard” I mean sad strip of concrete with a couple sad-looking tables). However, there is no doubt Spring is in the air. Birds are singing about it and if you talk to any New Yorker they won’t be able to resist- “The high is 70 tomorrow!!”
NYC is not a city known for being green. Quite the opposite really. “Hazy Shade of Winter” being more the Paul Simon theme song rather than “Kodachrome.” Gray skyscrapers, black asphalt, neon lights concentrated in Times Square. The one exception of course, is Central Park, which I found myself in the midst of yesterday afternoon. At first glance, the park was like the rest of the city. Bear brown trees, branches crisscrossing across the cloudy sky like winter roads on Google Maps. But then I decided to look at the world through “Tourist Eyes” where every thing is fresh, the element of wonder at one of the greatest cities of the world. Time isn’t about getting to your destination as efficiently as possible, it’s about savoring the moment. Through these eyes I saw things that made me clap my hands together with glee. Fortunately, the only people near by were European tourists who are less judgmental of spontaneous illogical applause than New Yorkers. Crocuses! Lovely little flowers peeping out from the ground. They scream Spring like nothing else. I practically jumped up and down and began snapping pictures with my (piece of shit, but I’m getting a new one by the end of the week!) camera phone.
A near by carriage driver, dragging on a cigarette while standing next to his poor bedraggled horse, growled at me, “We won’t be responsible when you get mugged!” Seriously? In broad daylight at 2 in the afternoon? I laughed. You might scare little tourists, but you can’t fool me you big bad carriage driver!
I continued my walk, wishing the flowers indicated a warmer temperature and also wishing I had opted for pants in the 40 degrees. (I was wearing tights an a skirt, this was not another No-Pants activity, sorry to disappoint.) It was not a day for sitting on a park bench and reading, that doesn’t become a go-to activity until May. Central Park is relatively empty on a chilly weekday, but one can already see days spent sprawled on the Great Long, patches of grass barely visible between groups of sunbathers and picnics. I didn’t run into any street musicians, I didn’t get picked up by any cute guys, I only interactions were with crocuses and a crotchety driver. Then, just as I was leaving the park, I saw what I had been searching for for weeks. No, not a job, not a boyfriend. Leaves! The first leaves of the season!
A small tree with branches at my eye level right at the West 63 entrance, he’s an early bloomer, way far ahead of his compatriots. I have no idea his type- magnolia? dogwood?- but I know it’s my type. I wish I could wake up to his glorious green every morning. But I have no doubt he’s started a trend. It’s only a matter of time before the trees outside my window give into the peer pressure. Here’s looking at you guys. He certainly inspired me. Today I am wearing quite conspicuous green knee socks. I think they’re super cute, but they are the kind of accessory that needs a second opinion. I am wearing them in homage to my favorite tree and, oh yeah, because it’s St. Patrick’s Day.
You can read last years rather bitter post concerning the holiday here. Two years ago, I was painfully dumped on St. Patty’s day- it left me with a bad taste for the holiday. But that’s a story for another time, and also not the break-up story you’re looking for. I know. Fear not, I will wrap up my Safa Boy Series soon! I needed a break, so until then, have a pint of Guiness or something alcoholic with green food coloring and have a laugh with friends. That’s my plan tonight. A toast to spring, a toast to getting over shitty break-ups, past and present.