Smell Them Roses


The signs of spring are here. Bees or wasps the size of hummingbirds rev near my windows. The B Monster starts shedding hair like it’s her occupation, which, I suppose, it sort of is. And Prague life slows down.

I’ve written about Prague spring and summer many times in the past and for good reason – they are truly magnificent. I am not simply talking about going from a shitty winter to a nice summer. The whole demeanor of the city changes. Things become lighter, more relaxed, more fluid.

I find that each time of year carries its comfort images. Autumn is an October day, leaves in the yard, a walk through a dying colorful landscape. Winter is always pre-Christmas, the cheery atmosphere of approaching holidays and time with family and friends; there’s a good stew on the stove, a good glass of whiskey in hand, and I’m looking out at the snow and saying “Glad I’m in here!” I’m often wearing a rollneck sweater. Summer is a collage of long days at home, very few present concerns, reading on the porch in a rocking chair, eating cheesesteaks, hanging with family, baseball on TV, blissful days at the beach.

Spring is the morning. It’s bright, spring being the time of year I always think I’m waking late. Shit it’s 9 a.m. and I’m missing class! Nope. It’s 5 a.m. and I’m missing sleep. The air spilling through my window is comfortable cool; I come out into the flat, brightening it in increments by pulling open curtains. I write in my airy office, I have a coffee. In this fantasy the cat is not the constant meowing machine begging to get to the porch that she is in reality.

It’s the time of year that means less urgency, more daytime, slower afternoons, during which I am likely to find myself in a beer garden. For me, teaching is finished for the summer, we are testing people, which any teacher will tell you may bring its own flavor of hell, but is not the same as teaching.

Despite the slower pace, I’ve been forcing myself to hold on to every moment. This year has flown by. A moment ago it was Easter. A blink of the eye before that, it was February. While I was in shower, Christmas came and went. And so will these long spring days, and before I know it, I’ll be sitting on my parents’ porch in August moaning about how it was just May a second before.

Perhaps it’s for that reason that I am not taking a big trip this summer. Usually, at this time of year I am planning a trip for July. Japan. Ireland. Ethiopia. Something big, something to look forward to, something to mark the end of the year. But this year I felt that I wanted to enjoy July in Prague, maybe take a weekend trip or a day trip to a castle. I am making my July priority to put the (hopefully) finishing touches on a novel and to enjoy every moment. I’ll try to slow down time a bit; I’m not ready for those changing leaves just yet.

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