In New York, I loved the Autumn. It’s crisp days arriving look a cool shower after the sweltering summer heat. In Prague I love the Spring, which appears like a clean breeze following the stagnant winters doldrums. It promises new life to the city, fresh air, short skirts, and a triumphant display of flowers and fragrance; and it arrived on Wednesday.
This year Spring appeared like a quarter under the cup you weren’t watching in a hustlers shell game. We knew it was coming but preceded as it was by a series of meteorological distractions and diversions – two weekends of full blown 70 degree summer weather divided by eclectic weekday mix of late-winter days, some rainy, cloudy, and others suitable for suntan – Spring blew in like the crack of starting pistol while you’re still tying your shoes.
There were hints, of course. A few weeks ago I noticed some white flowers sprouting from the freshly thawed ground. Then last weekend the first cherry blossoms started to flower delicately, spattering the leafless parks with subtle puffs of white. For the last week plump buds began gathering on branches, getting ready to burst.
But on Wednesday everything seemed to happen at once. Millions of leaves burst out of their shiny buds suddenly airbrushing the city with a nearly imperceptible haze of that special green reserved for emerging foliage. Simultaneously yellow shrubby flowers (called ‘golden rain’ in Czech) showered down randomly throughout the city and the cherry blossoms came on in full force as marvelous towers of cotton candy.
People, mimicking nature, sprouted there own festivities. Small Easter markets sprung up in the squares bringing painted eggs, candy rabbits, the traditional Easter switch (made of braided willow bows and streamers), and the traditional festival foods. Instead of a Christmas tree, these markets are built around a birch tree decorated with brightly colored streamers.
But Spring isn’t all flowers, sunshine and halusky. The weather has now turned to cold rain, providing me a much needed respite from the outside world. All the fun and games produced by wacky weather have left me (and the rest of the city) with a lingering cold which I’ve finally begun to shake, courtesy of a lazy day indoors.
As I sit writing, the gentle spring rains patter down on the fresh leaves and flower buds of the trees in the courtyard behind my bedroom. I don’t know what kind of flowers they’ll produce but they look large and fragrant; and I’m looking forward to their company in the coming nights as I begin to leave my window open while I sleep.