Saturday, April 21, 2007

Signs of spring

Easter is behind us; kids are counting down the days 'til the end of school, and teachers are counting down the hours; the days are getting warmer, but rain's in the forecast.

All true, but that's not really what I mean now when I say signs of spring. I mean spring in Taiwan, spring as an expat, spring that takes some getting used to. (By the way, was anyone else out there taught to capitalize the seasons? It is a deeply entrenched habit, one that I fight only half-heartedly.) Anyway, spring (Spring), for me, is this:

Walking through piles of dry brown leaves that have finally fallen off the trees.

Looking for giant caterpillars, or their dessicated casings, nestled in the crevices of our school wall.

Mangoes the size of a lap cat.

Making mental lists of what I need to buy in the states this summer. Every morning for the last two weeks I have said to myself, "I should buy two of those lipsticks this year." Every morning.

Dead baby birds in the carport. Did they fall? Were they pushed? Why don't they get eaten?

Constantly feeling like I'm forgetting something. Too many parties, projects, and weekend trips as the school year winds down and people make ways to spend time together.

The accompanying feeling of sadness, kept just below the surface, as the end of the year means saying goodbye to dear friends.

Chirping geckoes.

National auto taxes (bad), and an automatic extension on my IRS filing (good).

Daylight that lingers long after the garbage truck's anthem, Für Elise, has faded away.

Swinging between two extremes: wanting to see everyone this summer, and wanting to do nothing all summer.

Scarred and charred hillsides, after families have come to fufill their duty to ancestors on Tomb Sweeping day. There is some small irony in the living honoring the dead by wiping out all of the plants that have grown around the tombs. We show up at a grave with flowers; they show up with weed trimmers and lighter fluid.

Strawberry season is over.

Raspberries await.

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