From My Post Road Window / Nicholas Troilo
Is it spring?
Published 3:50 pm, Thursday, March 31, 2011
It doesn't feel like spring. Outdoor temperatures, some mornings, are still in the low 30s. Trees are barely in bud. Crocuses, the early ones, hide, not yet ready for their springtime game of peek-a-boo. Snow piles crusted with road dirt litter back roads that rarely see the sun. A dried-up, brown Christmas tree lies on its side forgotten by the trash collectors and ignored by its owner. Those aren't signs of spring.
I want to see forsythia in bloom and robins nesting and grass growing greener. I want to sit outside in shorts and a tee and walk in town in flip-flops like teenagers do. I want the screens scrubbed and the windows cleaned and opened to catch a breeze. I want a good springtime rain that creates a puddle at the curb to splash in. Those are the things of spring.
Without them I still have my winter gloom. I'm grumpy when I should be filled with glee. I'm cold. I'm layering still and look for a scarf to wrap around my neck before I head to work. And I find myself being unkind. Just the other day I took the 10:44 a.m. train to New York. It was crowed when I got on in Darien and I wanted a quiet ride. I had some extra time and some serious reading that had to be done before I reached New York. So I decided to transfer in Stamford to the local train. I'd have my pick of seats on the 11:03, the quiet that I wanted and the extra time.
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But when the 10:44 arrived in Stamford a large, obese woman stood on the platform waiting to get on. The protocol is to step aside to let departing passengers -- that would be me -- get off the train. But she didn't and she blocked my way and she made some snide remark about my being in her way. Well, I had an unkind thought which I usually wouldn't have in spring about the woman's size. And, in sotto voce of course, I even said something back to her. Doing that made me doubly unkind -- the thought and then the expression of it -- and sort of chicken, too, since I didn't say it right out loud.
And that same day, I took the 10:22 p.m. back home. This time I wanted quiet not to read but to nap. I had my book and my beer. Usually on the late train I can finish off a tall beer before we reach 125th Street, close my book by Fordham, and my eyes by Pelham. But not that night.
That night a crowd of six, rowdy middle-aged women boarded the 10:22. They made my car their home. They spoke and laughed, fortissimo, all the way. Just after Stamford they gathered by the exit doors and began to flirt with a young Hispanic man who stood nearby.
"That's my daughter," the tall blonde woman shouted. She, the mother, had a Jane Russell figure, not obese, just big, and her daughter was built the same. "It's my 50th birthday," the mother shouted. Meanwhile, the daughter did a pole dance in the vestibule of the train for the young Hispanic man. "I saw those offers on Groupon," I thought, "she must have bought one and had one class, poor thing." You see how unkind I've been? More unkind thoughts ran through my mind and when they all got off in Norton Heights, a section of the train applauded and the blonde women all shrieked in delight.
They were soused and I was annoyed and unkind. Believe me, I'm usually not like that in spring.
Spring has always been my time. I live for the energy of spring. It takes power for a tulip bulb to bloom, for a stallion to cover a mare, for a robin to build a nest, for chicks to hatch, for Christians to fast and repent, for a Christ to rise from the dead. I want to share in that energy. I want the force of a spring bulb, the power of the stallion, the focus of the robin, the struggle of the chick, the passion of the faithful Christian and the hope of resurrection. That's spring for me.
But not this spring, not this year -- so far. I'm still in winter gloom wearing long-sleeved tees and shirts and sweaters and looking for a scarf and gloves when I go out. And not because it is particularly cold outside. It's just how I am this spring, right now. But I have time. I'll find the spring in me. I always do. I always do.