Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Wester

(Above: Leo, Ray, Joanna, me, Luke, Lil' Buddha, the tragic micro encephalic duck, cherry trees. Remember: you can click on the pictures for nice enlargements.)

I'm writing this on Monday morning, sadly looking around at my floor, which is not strewn with plastic grass, halves of plastic eggs, and cellophane-fronted boxes bearing remnants of chocolate bunny ears. (Cat hair is a poor substitute for plastic grass.) It surprised me a great deal that there's no public recognition here of Easter. Christmas is certainly a pretty big deal, with trees, Santas, lights, and so on, and Christianity is the religion of the young and educated, but... nothin'. No bunnies, no eggs, no notice of special services, no little kids out on the streets in bonnets or bow ties.

However, Buddha's Birthday's coming up in three weeks, and that's already received public recognition, with colored lanterns and a giant inflatable pillar with an inflatable baby Buddha holding an inflatable lotus blossom. That's a national holiday, though, even though by all accounts there are as many practicing Christians as Buddhists here.

It is, however, manifestly spring. Cherry trees are abloom everywhere, the high has been around 80 Fahrenheit each day, it's been sunny, and the humidity's been very low; all of this, especially the latter, has kept my Florida-acclimated spirits soaring.

I had three days off and did my best to make the most of them.

I made the half-hour walk, including crossing the footbridge over the river, to the Home Plus department store/supermarket, admiring the duck boats and kayakers, and whistled while I didn't work. (The pedes emptor policy evident with every broken sidewalk-- remember how I broke my face?-- was on display on the rickety bridge, where some guy had wandered off to get some nails, leaving a gap where a plank was supposed to be, no signs, no nothin'. Good thing there were no drunken toddlers crossing the river, plunging to their watery demise... as far as I know.)

Another day, Ray, Luke, Joanna, Leo and I took the long subway ride and long walk to the Arboretum in order to take a long walk. It hadn't occurred to me that at this time of year there wouldn't be a gatrillion flowers on display as there were in the fall, but we had a nice hike. Any day you can hear a bird sing in this city is a good day. I was wearing my Korean flag t-shirt, which excited one local guy so much he insisted on having his photo taken with me, repeatedly.

The next day, I tried to arrange a late-in-the-day outing to paddle the duck boats and go to the little amusement park down by the river, but we had to postpone. The day after that, I walked downtown (three miles away) and around and around, just happy to be alive, I guess, and the girls sure are purty. (Maybe not as happy to be alive as I would have been had the Samsung Lions had a few home games, but pretty happy... and that leaves something for next weekend.)

We're just out of a windy winter and heading into what I'm told will be a brutal summer; I'm going to enjoy every moment I can of our ephemeral, glorious spring, with or without the Easter Bunny.

Hop Springs eternal.

(Below: the guy came back with some nails...)

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