601seasonsChicago has been stingy with spring so far. The sun—though warm enough—doesn’t appear often enough. The sky is the right blue at times but clings to low temperatures. In the fair fragments of fair days, people emerge as from caves, turn their faces upward, and walk stupefied in parks and on busy streets. But I can’t count on the next day. Another storm or chill will come.

To live here, you need insulation—not just the real sort that stuffs coats or lines walls against wind and snow, but the psychological sort that allows you to remain steady through cold and hot, that keeps you tolerant, moderate, and calm in the face of struggles. Insulated people aren’t unsettled by bad minutes, hours, or days. They’re rarely put-off, aggravated, insulted, or miffed. They don’t feel down for long. Nothing penetrates their poise. Their desperation barely becomes audible.

My own insulation is thin. Some people say I’m “sensitive,” though no one applies the term as a complete compliment. Being sensitive means you feel subtle shifts of light and shadow and the rise and dip of each degree change. When you’re sensitive, winter permeates you. You thaw just as readily, but I wish I were the sort who stayed the same through vicissitudes. I’d like to carry the seasons in me, to call them as needed and rest assured I might meet spring just as summer, fall, and winter.

The world has no shortage of worries and is always with me, and anything that happens—to those I know and those on the news—can drag me into weather hard to elude.

The other day, after another soggy walk to school, I ran into a colleague who told me I shouldn’t despair, that spring had to come someday. I tried to be cheered, but hope comes reluctantly when conditions affect you. People say things will get better, and I know they’re right, but these things will also get worse, and better again, and worse. I know that, however these things are, they will demand I accept their comings and goings and how little I control them.

It’s enough to make me desire delusion, the willful substitution of faith for doubt, and the oblivion of utter insensitivity. I could wish for hibernation too, if I didn’t worry about its becoming my perpetual state, a way to escape into unconsciousness and save myself from internal weather.

A bright day will arrive soon to obliterate these dark thoughts—it can’t rain every day—and, when a beautiful day does appears, I’ll celebrate spring with everyone else. In the meantime I wish I could find another layer to wear. I wish belief in spring sustained me more.


Filed under Apologies, Chicago, Depression, Doubt, Essays, Hope, Identity, Laments, Meditations, Spring, Survival, Thoughts, Urban Life, Worry

14 responses to “Waiting

  1. “Everywhere you go, always take the weather” is a line from a catchy pop song I heard on the radio the other day while I was at work and thinking many of these same thoughts. Where the hell is spring? Not sure it helped or helps.

    Here in Boston, no one can think about anything but exploding pressure cookers. Makes me think of another song lyric from The Water Boys: “nothing compares to what we do to each other.” A sobering thought that puts things in perspective for me. Still, a little sun over here please. And maybe get rid of the big pile of snow that refuses to melt in the shade of my barn.

    • dmarshall58

      It’s taken me so long to respond that spring has finally arrived… at least in spurts. We’re not keeping our windows open at night–which is my favorite stage of the year, when the birds wake me–but we’ve had some days that make you itchy staying inside. I hope you’re doing well, gearing up for the summer. Thanks as always for visiting. I appreciate your faith in me. –D

  2. How much longer can I find sustenance when I keep losing my edges under overcast skies? Good question…so I bought grow lights and hover under them instead. Maybe the plants know something I don’t…

    • dmarshall58

      I’ve never tried light therapy but thought of putting a lamp on my desk at work. There are so many animal things about us that we like to think we can ignore. Some we’re better at ignoring than others. Some people are better at ignoring them than others. I’m sort of a mess. Thanks so much for visiting. I’m sorry I’m so slow in responding. –D

  3. Well… Today was gorgeous here in Los Angeles, however it WAS cold. Just as I was about to complain about the cold, I remembered last year’s LACK of Spring and propulsion straight into too hot Summer weather. Then I was happy.

    • dmarshall58

      I can’t believe how far behind I’ve fallen in responding to comments. I hope you are in that lovely state before full summer. I visited LA with my son some years ago. It was July and still perfect. I suspect the worst summer day there would still be fairly satisfactory compared to other places. –D

      • I think it all depends upon your perspective, when in L.A. Sometimes it can be 100 degrees and beautiful, other times 100 degrees and I see nothing but smog and haze and dirty freeway underpasses, tagged by gangs. When the temperature is lower, everything looks more beautiful to me. When I’m depressed, even Spring doesn’t matter much. Right now it happens to be gorgeous, and yes, we are actually having a Spring here! It’s been amazing. Warm days and cool mornings and nights. I love leaving the windows open at night and waking to that cool morning air.
        But again, perspective: to me, other parts of the country seem more appealing, at least in Spring.( I would not fare well in snow.) I must admit though, Northern California is breathtakingly beautiful.

  4. It’s good to hear that others are so affected by the weather. I would opt for winter hibernation if that were possible. Now, after endless months of grey clouds and darkness, there are at least signs of Spring – like the tight fists of blossom about to emerge on the tree outside my window.

    • dmarshall58

      Wouldn’t hibernation be wonderful! I sometimes think that’s the worst aspect of ugly weather, the way it fills me with a desire to escape into sleep.

      It’s taken me so long to respond that spring has sort of arrived here, at least sporadically. We’ve had a few days yet that have pulled the rug out from under us, but, for the most part, it’s been tolerable… but you can see how carefully I’m trying not to jinx it. Hope you’re doing well, and thanks for visiting, –D

      • Good to hear from you. I’ve been busy with tutoring work in a local school – mostly working through a poetry anthology with small groups of students – so enjoyable. And yes, spring has arrived, which is wonderful. It was a strange autumn/winter without
        teenage children around to worry about (both at university).
        Probably far more than you want to know here, but I hope you’re doing well too ( your last post was quite dark) – and interesting.
        And another thing: I’m sure you could write brilliant novels. A

      • dmarshall58

        My son is away at school too, and my daughter starts in the fall. I’m not really sure what we’ll do with the extra freedom and time, though tutoring is a good idea. I could get out more… perhaps that’s part of the darkness I seem to wander into periodically.

        Novels… whew. I’m not sure I have that sort of discipline. I tried once and kept having to go back before I could go on. That first chapter was like ice after a hockey game, so scored and re-scored, the best answer was to wipe it clean.

  5. Reblogged this on The Daily Thought and commented:
    Interesting, I living in the foothills of North Carolina also notice springs not here yet and it is soon to be summer.

    • dmarshall58

      We finally have some spring, though it’s not altogether reliable yet. I’ve resigned myself to leaping directly into summer. Thanks for visiting and reblogging. –D

  6. Pingback: Walking Around The Year | Signals to Attend

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