I like being warm on the inside and cold on the outside. I like the feeling of Spring as it transitions from winter into summer. Here things are different. It is only slightly so. There is no smooth transition. The rain doesn’t decrease at a rate that is predictable. The rays of sunshine don’t build my skin thicker with any reliability. The sun comes out and shines down, like someone turned the oven up too high, and I lay out. I strip myself of everything until I am only barely within the boundaries of legality and I let it take me. I let it soak up into me. I picture each ray slipping down my arms like some sort of caress and I let it make me feel relaxed. My muscles loosen. My mind melts. I can smell the grass and and if I close my eyes I can hear the sound of balls being thrown, and caught, frisbees flying overhead. People shout so happily and I am here and I am partaking in their excitement. Their voices collect up in the rays of sunshine and slip into me, and I too, can feel what they feel. I am everything that has happened to me, and if so, I am everything that is happening to me. All the time, everything around me, even if I am not looking right at it.

Then one day it’s cold. It would not feel so awfully cold without the warmth that proceeds it. They say that’s how it works. You’d never know what’s good if you didn’t know what’s bad. But I shiver because I’m not used to it. The rain and the wind and the drip drip drip coming down the side of the building. People in rain coats and umbrellas with bikinis hidden underneath. I keep the window open because I like the way it feels. That chill, that prickling of the hairs on my arm as they bump against my sweater. I like the shudder. I like the feeling of my fingertips against a hot mug. I like slipping onto the couch and crawling under a blanket and feeling enveloped in the heat I have created. Everything feels different. How my fingers slide across the paper. How the pen feels in my hand. The environment is contributing to something deeper. It’s clicking in. All the conditions are right. I see it! Off in the distance! Some sort of inspiration! The happiness that had been pouring off of all these people had infected me,but here I am, in my essence. The cold and the rain, the clouds, the somewhat dimmed light that came down from the sky, I’ve returned, some sort of homeostasis. The rain makes me feel at ease.

And then the sun will return, and I will think, perhaps my settings are askew. This feels much better. I repeat the similar routine. I lay out. I soak it up. I shine a little brighter because of it all. And then I think I realize. It is the cold that draws me in, it is the warmth that draws me out, but it is the people that make all the difference.

 

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