This time of year used to mean Spring Break. That meant an escape from the cold, the snow, the ice and heavy layers of clothing.
During my college years, I spent spring break in Aruba, Barbados, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and Venezuela. The allure was always sun and beaches, and little umbrellas on my drinks.
I never did Cancún or Ft. Lauderdale. The idea never was to be packed like sardines with lusty college students. The idea was a pretty, perhaps secluded beach, for relaxed days being lulled by the surf.
I studied for midterms at the beach. We shopped, visited historical sites, ate exotic foods, met international hordes of fun folks.
One of my favorite memories is of feeling the cool breeze wash over me, the sun, children frolicking in the background. I was on the sand, going over notes for my art history midterm, listening to music… The tide came up. It was shocking but still more fun than trekking through four feet of snow!
In my post-collegiate years, especially the lean ones, spring break instead means college basketball.
Neither of my alma maters have good enough teams to make the dance, but I love the game sufficiently not to care who has been invited. I just want to enjoy the beauty and excitement of the game. The athleticism, the sportsmanship, the utter joy!
In lieu of eating exotic foods at exotic locales, I prepare fun tailgate menus.
The bracket? It’s a challenge rather than a gamble, it reminds me of people who have passed through my life over the years and tournaments past -- from spectacular last second shots that won games, from post-game discussions with friends, to my former boss' anniversary and the story about his wedding.
(I remember the first time he told me, I looked at him and said, "Who the hell plans a wedding during March Madness?!" Of course, being the groom, his only job was to show up. The image that will always stay with me is of one of the groomsmen listening to a radio transmission and gesturing to the men when Duke scored.)
In the awakening that is spring, it also awakens a creativity that has been dormant for part of winter because I am not a winter person. The promise of more sunlight and a warmer climate fills me with energy and sheer happiness.
Meanwhile, opportunities present themselves and spring becomes about hope as well.
Any period that culminates in a sugar coma by way of chocolate has to be celebrated. This is especially true in a year where winter has been so brutal and punishing--it has taken far more than it had the right to!
Though I am not sure I can explain what it does to your already fragile state of mind when the weatherman says things like, "On Friday, spring officially begins. We also expect some snow that evening..."
Seriously, enough already!
I'll be in a corner, waving my rainstick and rhythmically chanting for summer, rooting for teams with feline mascots, and eating copious amounts of chocolate. In protest, I'm not coming out until the temperature reaches at least my mother's age!