Another Spring Day

Today was quite a contrast to Tuesday’s perfect spring day. The temperature is around 50. The sky is overcast from horizon to horizon, with grey clouds rippled like the sand at a beach. Yesterday’s rain and today’s sharp breeze have winnowed the blossoms from the trees, leaving them wistful, faded shades of their former glory. The dandelions that haven’t turned to seed were tightly closed; the violets sheltering in the long grass were bruised but undaunted. A variety of phlox are blooming now, some pink, some white. Phlox are another favorite flower of mine.

I had the park to myself, as far as other humans went. Cold, grey, breezy weather seems to keep most people away. The geese were still out in force, though they’d moved their clusters of goslings to the weedy growth and dead reeds by the water’s edge, where they were huddled together for warmth. Apparently a couple of yards make all the difference in attitude, as none of the geese seemed to find it necessary to hiss at me this time.

I stopped in a pavilion to fix my hair, which the wind had teased out of my headband. I stayed to watch a train rattling by. Seeing and hearing the trains heading to and away from Chicago has been one of my small pleasures here. I first fell in love with the sound of trains when I was a small child visiting my paternal grandparents, lying awake in their house at night, listening to the whistle of a train passing their tiny town in central Nebraska. It’s a rather strange thing for me to enjoy seeing as how I’ve often been wearied by the constant noise of city life.

Suburban life has grown on me since moving north, though, now that I’m somewhere the towns are old enough that the neighborhoods aren’t a drab procession of beige or otherwise neutral colored houses in the same five boring styles repeated for blocks. I suppose there may be some people out there that find that kind of utilitarian conformity comforting, but I find it soul-destroying. One year early in our marriage my husband and I shared a house with a friend in a bland beige middle class neighborhood and I felt so starved for beauty there that I was actually reduced to tears one day.

If I can’t be somewhere enjoying natural vistas, at least let me live where the architecture is old enough to be designed with aesthetic appreciation, rather than maximized profit, in mind. Give me variety and interesting details for my eyes to roam. Buildings made of brick and stone and wood with shapes and angles, that don’t appear to conform to the general shape and bland appearance of a box. Houses in blue and green and yellow. I’d even rather have my senses offended by something garish than dulled by inoffensive mediocrity.

My post about a ramble in the park has itself rambled, so I’ll stop here.

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