Goodbye, April

“Just as a flower does not choose its color, we are not responsible for what we have come to be. Only once you realize this do you become free.”

Thursday, April 4th, 2013. 

April has arrived, the month of picnics, the emergence of sunglasses, the stirrings of inner life after the inertia of cold months. It’s as if everything is slowly thawing, the days have finally grown so much longer. Spring has always been a joyous occasion, the time you seem to dream the most. Waking dreams, while driving on a road that is momentarily empty in the morning, when you walk in unfamiliar neighborhoods with their ancient houses with porches, when you slip into the bathtub full of warm, sweet-smelling water.

Underneath the warm surface you hear only two things amplified — the knocking of your heart and the steadiness of your breath. Your heart sounds like something remote, not like a pounding organ — more like someone clunking up a flight of eternal stairs with a pair of heavy boots. Or ceaseless hammering from the house next door, someone forever hanging a painting on the wall or building a bookshelf. And then there are the external noises of the outside world which sound even farther away, the muffled mumbling of the TV downstairs, the footsteps of people moving about. From another place completely, not here. In the world of water only what is living underwater counts — what you can hear is that immediate stillness, not the ebb and flow of the ocean waves but its inner peace, the sound of your own breath a constant guide. You are reminded that you breathe.

In these moments, you imagine yourself the heroine, or anti-heroine, of some film equally as dark as the last one you saw. It is like in dreams where what is disturbing makes logical sense, is alluring. You were always attracted to dark things. You have always known, always wanted to believe, in the existence of a different reality, the kind you glimpse when you are sleeping. When you listen to a song, watch a scene. The mundane-ness of life is lifted — there is so much to notice! The small things, the infinite spaces where a possible other life may be lurking. You see flashes of yourself in different houses, as a child again, as a teenager, walking along different roads. You’ve lived everywhere, every courtyard you walk across has once been a routine. It’s like deja-vu in a place never seen before — in your imagination, you’ve lived a thousand cinematographic lives, all a secret. In spring, the romantic in you surfaces.

Photo by Ricky Romero

April Showers

I have a lot of posting to do! I´ll find the time one day to just sit and blog about my trips. In the past couple of months, we´ve made it out to Prague, Morroco, and Athens, so a lot of pictures are pending. The school year is fast coming to an end, and warm weather has more or less finally arrived in Madrid, probably followed on its heels by blistering heat. When school ends in mid-June, I´ll be flying out immediately to Philadelphia, and then about a week later to Vermont, where I´ll start the Middlebury graduate school summer program.

I´m excited to go back to school, excited to go to Spanish boot camp and read a crapload of books, and yes, even though I promised that that Lorca thesis during senior year was the last paper I´d ever write, I´m excited to start thinking again. I’ve heard a good many things about the program, so hopefully I’ll be coming back to Madrid (for the last time?) with some new insights and better Spanish.