27 March 2010
Last Saturday was balmy: I was riding in shorts and a T-shirt. Today I didn't go riding, even though the sky was clear. When I went outside today, I wore a bulky cardigan and my leather jacket.
A cold, windy day very early in the spring has long evoked a particular set of sense-memories for me. You might say they are all related to loneliness.
It has something to do with the fact that my the first couple of days my family spent in New Jersey, after moving there from Brooklyn, were much like today, if I recall correctly. We moved about this time of year: I recall that because spring break was beginning, as it is now. Also, Easter came early that year; on that day, snow and ice fell and covered the still-barren trees and sere grass that surrounded that almost disarmingly (at least for me) spacious house.
So, a day like today, in the early days of spring, makes me think of an empty suburban house with branches still shorn of leaves and a lawn sapped of its color. Some would see that emptiness as spaciousness and the relentless brightness of the sun unfiltered by apertures of leaves as clarity. But for a kid who's just moved from the one and only place he'd ever known, it's enough to turn him into an agoraphobic. On top of that--unbeknownst to him--he would soon enter puberty. For me, it was a kind of prison. Or, more precisely, it was like interment, except that I was alive but couldn't kick because there wasn't enough room. It was confined enough for me to hear the echoes of my own breathing yet just spacious enough for it to reverberate back to me and magnify my pain.
Fortunately for me, that pain--and that puberty--are memories now, evoked by the cold and wind we had today. Those memories include a house into which I could not fit myself, at least emotionally, and a body that would become more inhospitable to, and incongruous with, my spirit.