Elements of Spring

By Jade Walker

 

It seems most fitting to celebrate the anniversary of Jaded Writings just as the first Spring of the new millennium is born.

A year ago, I was a woman on the verge of a new life. I had just moved to New York City from Florida, leaving behind friends and family -- everything that was familiar and known. I arrived by train with four boxes of books and clothes, my teal green computer and a new name. I was breathless with anticipation and wonder. What would become of me? The answer, my friends, was elemental.

Empedocles, a Greek philosopher from the fifth century, once said that all matter is comprised of four "roots" or elements: air, water, earth and fire. Today, like the elements of Spring, I am rooted in the possibility of a warmer future.

AIR

It's March and the temperature is finally rising. After months of blizzards, snow storms and blustery winds, the days and nights have started to warm. As these degrees climb steadily into the 50s and 60s, the city feels like it's waking from hibernation.

Like many, I found myself perpetually cooped up this winter. Because I live in darkness, I managed to avoid the winter "blues," but the cold was evil enough to keep me inside most of the time. In December, I caught a wicked ailment, and a rattling cough has dwelled in my chest ever since.

Three bags of cough drops later, Spring is nearly here. People are finally getting out to breathe the fresh air. I, too, find this air to be cleansing and rejuvenating to my spirit and body. I've lived through my first winter in more than a decade, and I'm ready to shake this chill from my bones.

WATER

I woke up last night to the most wonderful sound -- rain. If Mother Nature left it up to me, I'd have it rain every single day. There's something so beautiful and tranquil about rain storms.

I'm an insomniac. Have been for years. But I find I always sleep best in the Spring and I attribute that fact to water.

You see, I live in the attic of a house. In the Spring, I sleep throughout the day and occasionally, I am treated to the calming sounds of pounding sheets of rain hitting the roof. Even during thunderstorms I'm happy because then all of my cats scurry under the covers and cuddle close, only to provide me with the additional pleasure of their purring, fuzzy bodies and warmth.

Thanks to the rain, I'm once again able to sleep.

EARTH

Though I have my head in the clouds, I prefer to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground. I live on the third floor, and work on the ninth. In the winter, snow and ice keep my feet at least a few inches higher than the earth.

Spring, however, lacks insulation. As this transitional season arrives, the snow melts away and the need to be out and about is almost tangible.

I yearn to feel more grounded. I need to walk the city streets and lie in the fresh, green grass reading a book in Central Park. The hike to the train station is a joy rather than an eight block torment. Chocolate croissants and orange juice taste better when enjoyed outside under an umbrella, rather than hastily consumed at my desk. The Earth is calling and my body answers.

FIRE

Spring fever has hit with full force. Since the weather has warmed, I've noticed more people walking hand in hand in Times Square. Several couples have turned the Brooklyn Bridge into a lovers lane as they stop along the walkway to hug and kiss and giggle.

They're not the only ones feeling this fire. Last week's full moon practically had me coming out of my skin. It even led to a moment of longing on the subway.

I was sitting on the D train heading into Manhattan. The book in my lap was engrossing so several stops came and went without grabbing my attention.

Then, just before crossing the bridge, the train pulled into the DeKalb stop. The doors whooshed opened and some instinct told me to look up. As I did, my eyes locked with another pair. He was standing on the platform edge, facing the train. A black guitar case was slung casually over his shoulder and he looked up at the same moment I looked out.

It sounds so cliché, but I found myself unable to breathe. I was afraid to blink because I didn't want him to disappear. Clearly we were sharing a moment.

Then something worse happened -- the train's doors closed and in that second, I knew I'd never see him again. The train pulled away from the platform and I turned my head to continue the look. He did the same, and then he was gone.

As soon as the train entered the tunnel, my lungs started working again. The buzz in my ears must have been the blood rushing through my body, but I couldn't quite distinguish it from the pounding in my chest. I was frantic and flushed -- I felt like I'd just been touched.

Pure fire.

When I moved to New York, I was in the process of reinventing myself. Today, I still feel like an unfinished product, someone who is on the verge of ... more.

Yet like the Spring, my future is filled with possibilities. I am cleansed of past judgments and wrong turns. My dreams are fiery, but I'm doing my best to remain grounded. I have all the elements at hand. Now it's time to take a deep breath and boldly figure out how to mix them into the best combination.