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Traveling In Style : Up Jumped Spring

March 07, 1993|Colman Andrews

The seasons, it has all too frequently been pointed out, aren't very well defined in Southern California, at least in any traditional (i.e., East Coast or Midwestern) sense. Summer here has blurry edges, seeping into almost every other month. Autumn is a rumor marked mostly by the avalanche of ducks and turkeys in the supermarket freezer cases. And winter? What's that? Snow on mountains in the distance as you drive off to a New Year's Day garden party with the top down?

But spring is different, even in Southern California. Spring starts one day, just like that. It jumps up in front of us with a sparkle and a wink. Colors deepen suddenly, and sharpen. Steps lighten and heads lift, almost autonomically. It dawns on us that we've been granted generous new allowances of light. All the irresistible cliches come out of hibernation--rebirth and renewal; the rising sap; baby chicks and bunnies; flowers that bloom in the spring, blah, blah--and we fall for it every time.

In other places, spring arrives in different ways: In the highlands of Guatemala, it marches in dramatically with an age-old, passionate religious observance. In the south of France, the landscape begins to radiate with color, against an unexpectedly dark backdrop. In the hills of Budapest, it's more the way the light plays on the fresh green leaves of the acacia trees. In the mountain terraces of one of Indonesia's largest islands, spring means new rice shoots--which mean life itself. In Daytona Beach, well, have another brewski, dude.

In whatever guise spring appears, though, and wherever we encounter it, we let it in, and gladly.

We've been expecting it. Up jumps spring. Up leaps the heart.

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