Tuesday was one of those extraordinary days we get just once or twice each winter: a freakishly warm afternoon conjuring memories of spring. A delightful tease. It’s disconcerting at first — weird and unnatural, really — but you dig around for flats, shuck off your bulky coat and bask in the oddness. Knowing it’s fleeting makes it all the more exciting. You choose to revel.
When I left the office that night, heels clicking against the sidewalk, I looked up at a burning sunset that followed me all the way home. I was driving into that sunset, it felt; dusk was mesmerizing. And eerie, too, knowing how temperatures would plummet from 65 to 30 overnight. Like any good one-time aspiring meteorologist, I’d been following the winter weather reports for days . . . and sure enough, a snowstorm blanketed D.C. and its cozy suburbs by yesterday afternoon.
But this was Tuesday — the calm before the storm. I met my husband without a jacket, arriving in the crowded pre-storm grocery parking lot after driving with the windows down. I thought about my college commute, driving up and down the Beltway with Jimmy Eat World and Death Cab for Cutie cranked high. I remembered once sailing across the Solomons Island bridge with my sister, the Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” playing so loud our voices strained to match Brandon Flowers’ every note.
And there was more — so much more. I once had a tradition of playing John Mayer’s live album — especially “Why Georgia” — as soon as the weather began to warm, and hearing Coldplay’s “Strawberry Swing” takes me back to riding the Tube around London alone. I played it constantly when I got back from my long weekend in 2009, trying to recapture the rush of moving independently through a foreign city. My city.
I miss music. I hadn’t really connected that until Tuesday, when I took a brief leave of Longbourn to enjoy the simple pleasures of the radio. My audio book didn’t fit my warm January mood: unexpectedly sunny; defiantly free. Scanning through the stations, I eventually found Lorde and OneRepublic . . . and for a second I didn’t feel so out-of-touch, so removed. I knew all the words.
And I sang them . . . loudly. As loud as I could.
Because I was alone — but not lonely.
Because spring really isn’t so very far away.