Spring Has Sprung

March 14, 2012 § 1 Comment

Lovely springtime weather in New York, that softness in the air, the tender shoots greening the soil in the park, afternoon light lavender on the 19th century stone houses. I was wearing my boots and winter jacket, unzipped; in the park a young woman was hula hooping in a two-piece bathing suit and knee socks. The families are out; the lovers are out; the old people sit on the benches, basking like reptiles in the sun.

That was Sunday. Yesterday was even warmer, in the 70’s, and all the memories of summer came rushing back, good and bad. I’m putting the bad aside for the moment. The best thing about this year is that it’s not last year.

It’s been long enough now that I haven’t spent weekends in the country that the flowers and trees of Manhattan, the hyacinths and daffodils, have full potency; all it takes is two feet square of new blooms in turned earth to make me feel that renewal that I’ve been so desperate to attain, that people keep insisting I’m capable of.

The future is precarious; I very much need new work so if anyone needs a crack editor/writer; if you need your novel critiqued, your academic paper edited; if English is your second language and you write it well but not perfectly and you’d like any professional communication polished and checked for errors; if you want your website improved (with words, not programming skills), get in touch. I’m in this position because I spent too many decades devoted to creative work, and had the means to do so, which I don’t anymore. But coming late to the professional world has its advantages: the worldly knowledge of age, the curiosity of youth…and if I don’t quite have the stamina of youth, in freelance work that’s not the problem it might be if you were hiring me for a 60 hour work week.

But I’m feeling optimistic. They say (far too often they say) that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger; it’s also true that what doesn’t kill you now will kill you later, so it’s best to get on with things. The cats need new catnip mice. I need a haircut and sandals, and to have my teeth cleaned. Money should grow in the spring, not outdoors where anyone could take it, but inside, behind the books, beneath the lacy things, under the bed. My friend Paula once told me about a Brazilian voodoo (not the right name for the magical tradition, but whatever is Brazilian that’s like voodoo) belief that if you said the right prayer over your money as you spent it, it would come back to you, creeping out of cash registers and others’ pockets to return like a dog, faithful to the end. Let’s call this a metaphor for art—though I’m quite sure it wasn’t meant to be so; let’s pretend all the ninnies are right and if I ask the universe nicely, it will pause in its endless expansion, and toss me a few of its magic marbles, beans, geese, what have you. When the beggar accosts me, I shall be kind. When the frog asks for a kiss, it will be given. I just hope the good fortune doesn’t show up in some especially dodgy guise because I’m really not going to answer any chain letters or send my social security number to that U.K. site that keeps claiming I’ve won a million pounds. Nor am I going into any dark, stinky  basements just because I hear a ghostly whisper, “Come, dear child, I have a little surprise for you.” You have to do better than that, Fairy Godmother.

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