But it’s all anybody is talking about these days. “How is it so cold?” a friend asked, rhetorically, as I presume she doesn’t expect me really to answer that, at a reading this past weekend. “Killer weather we’re having,” the guy at the grocery store says. I hesitate to agree because, well, there has been some literal killer weather on this planet recently, and this is no tsunami, but I get his point. And, most importantly, “Where did our sixty degree weather go?” my next-door neighbor asked as we tried not to awkwardly bump into each other while passing in the hall this morning.
Yes, that—Where did our sixty degree weather go? Didn’t the entire city just collectively breathe a big sigh of relief when we thought, for the love of all things sparkly and unicorn, that Punxsutawney Phil and Staten Island Chuck both did not see their shadows this year, and come on, didn’t I see espadrilles? Bare legs? Short, swingy skirts? I trust those signs of spring far more than I trust those little groundhogs.
Plus, equinox has come and gone—that holiday which is the root of the origin for Easter when the day and night are once again equal in length, and the light is returning. The sun looks different, it is higher in the sky, leaving shorter patches of light along my kitchen floor and dining room table, deceiving my eyes into thinking it must be warm out there.
I already put away my winter coat, but it might have to come back out again.
And I shouldn’t argue with that reality, I suppose. It might snow on Friday. I say might because, well, what the hell do they know. I’m sure they try their best, but nobody can for sure exactly tell what Mother Nature is going to do on Friday. She might change her mind between now and then.
It’s said that the Easter and Spring equinox traditions are superstitious about something new—that you should get a new dress, wear new clothes, buy something new for yourself around this time, as it will bring you good luck. Now that the light is coming back, it seems like the time to make ourselves just a little shinier, a little brighter, a little more ready to be seen. And I suppose this is why we have “spring cleaning,” too, a tradition that makes more sense when we can open all the windows and let our homes air out, of course, but also a practice that corresponds with light, warmth, and celebration of all things baby-green and sprouting, sexual and wild.
Yeah, that’s right, I said sexual. Most of these holidays were about fertility rights once upon a time. Surely you know that sex makes the world go ‘round, it isn’t as though that is a new thing. All the descriptions of the pagan equinox rites include mentions of budding sexuality, blossoming desire. Why do you think the bunny and the egg are such symbols at this time of year? The egg is a sign of fertility; the bunnies, well, you know how they are, inspiring us all to do it “like bunnies.”
The light’s coming back, the desire is coming back, the warmer days are coming back, the clearing out of old and stale energy is coming back, the cold and dark days of winter are behind us. Well, almost. They would be, if we’d take better care of this planet and not have our seasons all messed up. And while we are not that far off from today’s average weather, according to weatherunderground.com anyway, we are also quite close to the record low. I just hope this is as low as it gets, and that rumored snow on Friday will find some other place to party.
The equinox and the Wheel of the Year are always times when I take stock of my life, and this one seems to be one of the hardest-hitting for me, since it is also the week before my birthday. This year I’m turning 32. I feel good about that, I think. It’s a little odd to be in my thirties but I was so ready, after too much finding-myself-20s-bullshit and after a tumultuous Saturn return, to be where I’m at and to celebrate the things I know about myself. But it’s hard not to look around and reflect on one’s life around one’s own birthday. My mom always says, “People get weird around their birthdays,” and I think that’s true. I know it consistently is for me, anyway. I get nervous, irritated; I feel like my footing is unsure, uncertain, different somehow than it used to be.
It’s good to reflect on where I am, though, and good to continue thinking about all of those baby-green shoots coming up from rich, dark soil that I want to cultivate and continue to grow. Which of them need coaxing? Which will grow on their own? Which are weeds, which are growing too fast and will take over? Which are hostile? Which are not worth the resources they take to nudge, coax, and urge out of the ground, and which will I do that to anyway, all because I love them and I want to?
I have many projects, many places where I dip my fingers and toes in, plenty others in which I am fully immersed. I want to do so many things. I want to travel this summer, want to camp out in the woods and roast marshmallows and experiment with a camp stove, want to lay on my back and stare up through the trees, want to write on rocky beaches and read books at picnic tables. I want to road trip with my best girl and make old fashioned CD mixes of as many of our songs as I can find. I want to keep on keepin’ on, to go to conferences and events and parties, to do workshops, to leave my mark on this small world of sexuality and gender and care.
And like always, I want to pare down, to simplify, to cut out those that are no longer working, to make room for the new things that will continue to encourage my heart and intentions to soar. I’m not sure what I’ll have to prune this spring to make way for the growth of the summer and the harvest of the fall, but I hope to do it carefully, cautiously, with awareness and choice. There are so many more things for me to do and say about this huge, swirling city, about my tiny little insignificant and beautiful life, about gender, about the ways we express ourselves, about art and love and the inner workings of our minds. I don’t know what I’ll be pruning away, but I do know I am called to be a writer, and I will keep writing, as long as there’s ink in my pen, as long as there’s a place to put it, as long as there’s someone out there to read what I’ve got to say.