The Blessing of Reaching Spring
An anthology of all the moments I was born.
The first time I was born my parents woke early in the morning. They drove five minutes down the road from the apartment they lived in at the time to McCook’s beach. In three short hours, we’d arrive in the world, six weeks premature. We’d grow and be loved, they’d feed us and teach us math on the couch at home. They’d pick us up from school, host birthday parties, they’d talk about how quickly we were getting older, but at that moment, all they had was time. With a cup of coffee and tea in the blue hue of predawn, they drank and watched long island sound. On particularly calm days you can see the ripples of current in the water, at low tide rocks far from the swimming boundary poke their heads in the trough of waves, but most often it appears relatively unremarkable. Unless of course, you are waiting for something, waiting for light. Three minutes to 6 in the morning such a gift was granted, new daylight broke along the horizon. March 21st, a day beginning, had passed over calendars and lives thousands of times. A banal and unremarkable date besides those decreasingly frequent years it was the vernal equinox. A day which had come before to my family like nothing, like air, weighed now with a new kind of meaning.
We think about spring, symbolically, as growth and renewal. We see it as a beginning a kind of newness to life as well as a naivety. It is the start of the new zodiac year a kind of promise of cosmic shifts, planetary movement, meant to engage and challenge you. There is a sense that something will be learned by this time the following year. Yet it also has the equinox, a near balance of both light and dark. This carries with it a kind of wisdom and justice. I’ve always felt connected to spring in this way, it’s duality which says you are something new but not exactly innocent. You are reincarnated. Here stand the buds of new leaves which are near perfect reiterations of what stood before. We cannot tell the difference but they can. There is inherited knowledge in nature of all the springs which preceded this one wrapped in the rings of the tree, it grows despite what it knows. It grows because of what it knows. And like anyone I never quite feel older on my birthday but in the face of spring, I do feel different. I find myself asking, as March rolls into April, when are we older and when are we simply no longer our younger selves?
There are times in my life when the beauty of this world ignites intense emotions in me and I become incredibly overwhelmed by the feeling of potential. There is no pattern to these moments, they don’t show up each spring or chiefly arrive when watching a particular kind of movie. They’ve occurred at random. An early summer morning where, crying on fifth avenue, a man stopped and walked with me to work to make sure I felt better. I walked the blocks one thing and left them another. This past Christmas I started a book and by the time I was finished I had shed so many past selves in its pages, I wondered if it counted that this new me had read the book at all. Even tinier moments, waking in the middle of the night to an absolute quiet to the world, a breeze blowing through an open window, a brief lull at dinner with friends. Seemingly mundane moments that occur regularly suddenly standing for an enormous thing we know as our lives. A glimpse of potential that life could hold many more moments such as those.
In Max Richters Spring 1 I felt the visceral shift, as if the song itself was a tuning fork aligning me with a life I didn’t have, but could achieve. I was profoundly impacted by this similar glimpse into the possible future which allowed me to step out of my life in that moment and to see the now in a new more well-rounded way. This is to me a defining moment of what it means to be reborn, the spring-like growth where you are renewed in an imperceptible way. Happening almost in an instant, as quickly as a song ends and begins. I sat in awe at the scope and reason which were brand new to me and yet entirely plausible and rational ways of seeing. A kind of hindsight which required no proof or time but survived on the confidence I had that my life would move toward happiness and joy. I replayed the song. I played it until the possibility of my life and its endless potential made me feel sick.
Yes, once or twice a year these moments overwhelm me. I weep, shed tears just as I had the first time I was born. There is a clarity in the differences between getting older and moving on. To age is something we easily could lose track of. There’s an understanding of each number as its own separate idea, but hardly ever does it strike us the way life can renew us at any time. The days of such occurrences pass unsuspectingly like birthdays for people we don’t love yet. Though I can’t find a common denominator to these memories, a catalyst, I know they all contain the thread of reason which sees life and something promised despite everything I think I should know. The opportunity to appreciate beauty, to create beauty, to be loved, regarded, remembered. To write something down with conviction, to make a way through the world even if it is forgotten just because we are allowed to do so. To live in spite of everything you are feeling in that moment because you know you must. It is this possibility that life is repeatedly ordinary patterns and cycles, but on occasion, they can appear to us as sublime. Those are the moments we are reborn, wherein we have no reason to believe life is not worth living. Or else we understand we have been given a chance to see our own growth realized.
All week I listened to Spring 1. Sometimes how we are reborn isn’t apparent to us, but I knew what this song was telling me, was making me see. Just before I listened to it a man I might have gotten to know faded from a possible connection to a wordless goodbye. An apparition in my dating history, there but only really as something almost. This has been the only outcome I have seen in my 20s. This was, until I listened to the song, the only outcome I feared could happen for me. Yet to be reborn was both the realization that I no longer believed the story of my life to be true, and to feel the other possibility of opening myself to connecting with others. I listened again and despite being still alone and the fact I had heard the song before suddenly the cycle of abandonment was ending and a new one beginning. I felt an emphasis of what was happening and how it had happened before, could happen again, but was a singular outcome of the many ways my life would move on. There was the promise that love is always a possibility. I held both my disappointment and the relief of seeing this moment with older, wiser, eyes. Who at last could see me beyond the belief I would only ever exist as something almost.
I saw in this rebirth the feeling my life was beginning or even that it was revived. There was a sense that this song had refracted my life into digestible channels allowing me to see their ebb and flow. In the spirit of spring, I had the wisdom to know that my life had neither stalled or stopped at all even if I had felt renewed. Yet it’s true to say essential territories of our lives can feel snagged on something. Self-doubt, or fear, or more simply the ideas we had when we are young which are shed in the space of a single breath. Rebirth is itself an offering. An opportunity to see things in a new light. There is a legitimacy to witnessing this possibility and deciding it is yours to have. It is this difference which makes us new rather than older. We have this knowledge we might not have aged but we’re suddenly something more real in the world than we were moments ago.
In the wake of all the phantoms of my life, I had begun to repeat a kind of monologue. It contained all the things you should say, all the things I understood to be true but was disconnected from an authentic belief. The moment I was reborn these words became a prayer. I walked down empty 72nd street late at night and the words ran through my head by memory but this time with conviction. I love you. I love you I mean it. I can be loved. Love is possible for me even if it isn’t happening to me. There is a future in which I am loved. Love exists even when it is not towards me. I’m different and I’m lovable and I always have been. I’m not saying it because it’s what you’re supposed to say, this time I mean it. I believe you universe. This time I know it’s true. I have learned my lesson. I’m no longer so young.
All this because of a song? No, all this because when we exist for better or worse we come across reminders that despite our own feelings and personal tragedies there are moments of beauty which tune us into what this life is all about. To seek joy, to love and connect with ourselves and others, to find the things which move us, to grow and see the world more clearly than we did before. Or else, to believe that though we are experiencing the anxieties of the human condition, questions of what we can be, we understand what we lack now has no merit on the possibility we may have it later. How out in the days ahead exists the marvelous fact that something is waiting for us and we have the single job of finding it out. This is all I have ever learned in life, this is all that has ever renewed me.
The panic thay can set in when you remember you have a life ahead of uou, the joy of knowing you have years and years to receive the blessing we know as spring. March 30th, 2022 9:08 PM
And I couldn’t form some sort of argument of lack or absence because there he was the entire time before me. Present and listening to me and letting me talk and say how I had never done anything like this before. Who was watching me be nervous and insane and yet seeing me. March 24th, 2022 6:04 PM
Next Friday my Paid newsletter comes out where we will start our bookclub book Happy Hour, look at some poetry, and answering this question:
I was wondering what were your thoughts on monogamy. I've been with someone for 8 months and he doesn't feel like he can be exclusive with me, although he's not seeing anyone else currently. Sex and love are separate things, for him…
Just to name a few things. You can subscribe now for 5$ or get a free trial week and then cancel it once it ends. I support you either way.
If not, don’t worry about it. We’ll see each other somewhere groovy soon.
That’s all this month! If you enjoyed the little conversation we had let me know! Save, share, and tag @chloeinletters
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Here’s to Starbucks Fridays, Spring, and our younger selves who got us here.