Season of light and color

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Two years ago (minus approximately one month and three weeks) I lamented that spring was “a restless, drab sort of time unmarked by any special occasion or characteristic.” “The season of pollen and rejection” I called it. At the tail end of my first winter in Seattle, I might have to amend that opinion, especially since I’ve power napped my way through the last month with flagging energy, desperate for sunlight, jonesing for color.

I can’t remember the last time I left the house wearing fewer than two pairs of socks. My windows have been firmly closed for so long the house has adopted a musty smell only noticeable to the inmates when we bundle up in jackets and go outside. For months I went to work in the dark and arrived home in the dark. I’ve always loved the nighttime, but this is something else entirely. This is a marathon, a challenge to my sanity.

Does it help to know that my first Seattle winter also happened to be the wettest winter on record? Not so much. Mostly because lack of rainfall in California became the new normal so it stands to reason that the wettest winter on record might just be Seattle’s new normal.

IMG_1763But in the last couple of weeks, something strange and amazing has begun to happen. Daffodils and crocuses burst out of the ground, seemingly overnight, blanketing the city in glorious color. Pink and white buds have begun to appear on branches I thought would always be brown and brittle. I’ve seen blue skies and once or twice the weather was even warm enough to remove my jacket. It’s every bit as refreshing as that first gasp of air after a deep  dive underwater, and every bit as necessary.

To be entirely fair, half my grudge against spring (at least according to the title, “pollen and rejection”) was based on a series of soul-crushing book rejections that are actually fairly standard if you’re new to the publishing world. I’ve heard stories of writers developing a sense of humor about these rejections—compiling them into books or transforming them into wallpaper—but I have yet to reach a place of such acceptance. After three years and as many books, I’m not entirely certain that I ever will. But after my first long, cold, dark winter I’m more than willing to assign the blame elsewhere.

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I’ve always held that autumn is the finest of seasons, and I’m not yet ready to see the season of red leaves and All Hallows Eve so easily lose the title. Like Anne-with-an-e, I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. But the beauty of living in a place that actually has marked seasons is that there is something new to appreciate and experience every couple of months. Yes, spring doesn’t technically start until March 20, but tell that to the flowers eagerly blooming just about everywhere, tell that to the sun which is now present both when I drive to work and when I return from work. Or actually, I’d rather you didn’t notify the flowers or the sun because I’m enjoying my reprieve from my first rather overwhelming winter.

If I sound as naive and, well, annoying, as Julie Andrews spinning in green Austrian fields, have no fear: I’ve still got the rejection letters to keep me grounded. Summer, fall, spring, or winter, there’s always an agent or publisher—or twenty—eager to put me in my place with a “Dear Author” email. Or, even worse, silence. At least now I’ll be reading those emails, or contemplating the offending silence, with my face stuffed in a daffodil … wearing only one pair of socks.

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