My Tuesday was very stressful. I guess it would be more correct to specify that the whole day wasn’t stressful, just the critical 45 minutes of commute from Aulnay to pick up the girls I babysit in Paris. On Tuesdays I teach late, and so it is a mad dash to the train station then a dash to the girls’ school to get there just in time. This week, the teacher whose class I had for English was late returning, giving me 5 minutes to sprint the distance that usually takes 15 minutes to speed walk. As I charged across the plaza in front of the station, I could see that my train was pulling in, and I truly thought I could make it down into the station, then up the stairs onto the platform. I want to pause and say that my friend Sarah has been teasing me that most of my stories climax in me dramatically hurling myself into the train and just barely making it after prying the doors open. This story did not end that way. As I was bolting up the stairs to the platform, I heard the door buzz, and so I lunged forward. I don’t know what said lunge was supposed to accomplish, as I was still close to the bottom of the steps. In a truly graceful spread eagle fashion, I instead face planted into the steps, taking two chic French women out as well.
Therefore, by the time I showed up [late] to get the girls, I was sweaty, looking disheveled, and tired. But thankfully, it’s spring. And spring means that I can once again squire the girls over to the Luxembourg garden where I happily sit on a chair and listen to laughter echo through the trees. The garden was perfect, bursting at the seams with people happy to finally be out in the sun. I lost one of my favorite gloves in my mad dash to the train, but symbolically, I don’t think I will need them any more. This week has brought sun, flowers, and promises of spring actually staying around for good. Popping out of the wintery brown dirt there are flowers and little buds hanging on to bear branches. Behind where the kids play at the garden, there is an especially perfect patch of flowers. Purple and yellow crocuses cover a space between two towering trees, and unlike ever other surface in Luxembourg, they bloom freely, defying neat rows and trim plots.
One of the girls told me that everyone was a little crazy because it was spring, and I explained to her that in English we give that the name “spring fever.” What is it about spring that makes everyone a little giddy every year? I think that even though we know it isn’t true, winter makes us believe that spring will never come. When we see the first flowers shoot up, the first signs of life coming from death, we feel almost giddy with anticipation of what is to come. This is my first spring not in the country, and the signs of the seasons come more subtly in the city. Yet on Tuesday in Luxembourg, surrounded by crocuses of violet and gold, I could see spring’s perennial triumph.