Yesterday, I woke, as I usually do, swimming out of a dream. In this particular dream, I was accidentally mooning the Queen of England on a state visit to Chicago, because I was lost running around with my pants falling down in the hotel where she was staying. One minute I was struggling to pull up my britches in a red-carpeted hallway in some Magritte-esque version of Chicago, the next I was conscious, lying in a foreign bed, my eyes taking in the grey light of the morning that streamed between the slats of the blinds in the bedroom where I was staying in the reality of Washington, DC. The slapstick cheer of my dream melted away into the dreariness of reality.
A short while later, while I was on a damp and muddy run through Glover Park, I noticed the dead-brown leaves covering the forest floor giving way to the multitude of tiny bright-green plants that were springing back to life and creating a new carpet on the ground. Looking up, I saw the wintry, skeletons of the trees slowly being taken over by white and pink flowers and yellow-green buds. All signs that spring is awakening. Letting go of my sense of dread at the prospect of yet another grey day, I splashed happily through the mud and puddles of what were April's first showers.
Handel's L'Allegro ed il Penseroso – the reason I am here in DC this week – abruptly begins with the tenor standing up and singing, "Hence, loathed Melancholy!" Being from Michigan, and having grown up with countless, sunless, cloud-ceilinged, dreary winters, I tend to associate grey days and Winter with doldrums and, well, melancholy. Seeing all of the new or resurrected life bursting forth brought me new subtext for my opening lines tonight – Hence, loathed winter and in with spring!