Spring officially starts on Thursday, March 20 this year. I only know that because my American calendar marks the date. In Djibouti, we don’t really have spring, not in the way I am used to, not in the way I wish my kids could experience spring.
Djibouti has two seasons: hot and hell.
Or you could say that Djibouti has two seasons: Dry. Like a hair dryer blowing on your face and cracking your lips. And wet. Like a sock soaked in hot water and slapped onto your face.
Or you could say that Djibouti has two seasons: Dusty. And dusty plus wind so the dust gets caked in your eyelashes and ground between your teeth and glued beneath your fingernails.
Other than the heat, humidity, and dust levels, not much changes with the seasons in Djibouti. Well, not much compared to the seasons in Minnesota. There actually are changes here, for those who are paying attention to details.
January brings flowering bouganvelia bushes. February brings clouds in the early evenings. Early April brings the scent of flowers mingling with the dust, garbage, and man-pee in the streets. August brings plastic bags wafting through the air like kites held by ghosts. November brings mosquitoes.
These minor changes aren’t quite enough for me though, native Minnesotan that I am. I miss spring, and I miss the things my kids will never know about spring. They won’t ever know they are supposed to listen for robins and watch for their red breasts as they hop across snowmelt-dampened yards. They won’t ever know that worms come out after spring rains and dry, crusted to the sidewalk when the sun comes out. They won’t miss laughing about the glaring pale skin of people who wore multiple layers of snow pants all winter and now, on a steamy 45-degree day, are strolling in shorts.
I miss that tingle of warmth when the snow starts to melt, and it seems that winter wasn’t really as bad as we all complained it was. I miss nubs of grass poking through mud and snow, buds on trees that smell rich and hopeful and sweet.
Everything seems brighter, colors more vibrant, scents stronger, light purer, in the spring. Days are getting longer as the darkness is pushed back further and further and conversations with friends seem to last longer and run deeper. There is life, living and buzzing and breathing and emerging everywhere.
Spring is a reminder, every year, that life wins. Darkness and cold and death will not reign forever, even if it feels that way in February.
I miss that reminder. I miss watching life burst from death with the joyful shout that the earth is beautiful, hope is not in vain!
I miss spring.
*image via Pixabay
*image via Pixabay