The crocus is a brave, fragile god of a flower on the frontier of Spring, usually trampled by dogs before it has lived more than a few days, or frozen back into submission by a return frost or snowstorm. In many parts of the United States, it is the crocus – not that undependable marmot – whose rise (thank you ED) signals that winter might actually, graciously, be coming to an end.
Alas, I have never seen a crocus in Madrid. And this month I have been practically looking under rocks for them, so consumed I am for any sign that the cold weather will soon leave us in Spain alone.
All that was required of me, however, was a bit of people watching. I would have seen the signs of spring earlier if I had just looked around.
The streets of Madrid reveal all. Women are wearing the odd bit of color – I’ve even bits of last year’s horrific neon trend peeking out from winter coats. And shop windows, of course, have warm weather clothing on display.
Restaurants and bars along plazas have begun to stake their claim on terrace dining, positioning tables and chairs in the sun. (How odd to think that in just a few months time, they will be wooing customers with the same tables but on the shady side of the plaza.)
But for the biggest hint that Spring is near, I just had to look around at a crosswalk. (Everything happens while attempting to cross the street.) Waiting for the light to turn, all the Madrileños are stock still, eyes closed, bodies turned in the direction of the sun. Faces tilted upwards like sunflowers. We’ve been missing the sun these past months and it is a vital nutrient to Spanish life.
If the light never changed, I imagine everyone would remain, standing still, soaking in the sun. Slowly rotating to receive maximum exposure.
But the light always changes and we are always on our way. Spring will come.