Spring. It’s Just Not Summer.
The days are getting longer, the mornings are getting lighter, the nights are getting shorter, oh bugger, Spring is coming. Yes that’s right Spring, the season following Winter that simply lets you know that it’s not warm enough to be summer and that it’s still 4 months before you should even think about subjecting the world to your white, pasty, still not lost the weight from festive over indulgence body. Oh the irony that Spring arrives at the same time as Lent and not after Lent when you’ve had 40 days and 40 nights to lose the weight before going outside. Spring signals the start of Lent.
Lent is when the darkness and the gloom of Winter gives way to the self flagellating period of self-denial and contrition thus ensuring that no one can enjoy the start of Spring as moral consciousness kicks in.
Why? Why does Lent get in the way of Spring, why not have Lent start on January 1st when we have at least some chance of keeping our New Year’s resolutions longer than a fortnight.
As a good Irish Catholic boy I had no objection to Lent or the sacrifices of giving things up for it, my parents came from the school of hard knocks where lent meant a diet of bread and water until Fridays when the odd piece of tinned salmon was allowed. “What are you giving up for Lent this year son?” “Er, Lent itself?” “Blasphemer, on your knees and beg forgiveness, you will give up chocolate.” “But Dad Jesus ate loaves and fishes not chocolate.” “Don’t bring Jesus into this, if they had chocolate in his day he would have given it up I assure you.”
I still give up Chocolate every year, just for the challenge and the sheer fun of it, when you do it voluntarily it’s actually more satisfying. This year however is different, I am in a moral quandary, not only am I vegetarian but I am also now Gluten intolerant, (Intolerant, not lifestyle, I have an excuse to be a fussy eater Ms Paltrow!) I usually give up chocolate, cake, pastries, anything sweet but of course now all that has gone and the only bonus is dropping 1 1/2 stone in weight since last year so why give up Chocolate now? It’s the only vice I have left (if you discount late night browsing on the internet.) I don’t smoke, I don’t really drink, I don’t really do anything unhealthy (apart from late night brows.. ) so why am I doing it? Because it’s Lent, because it’s spring and spring equals Lent and Lent equals emotional hangups from childhood about fast and abstinence and because Jesus did not eat chocolate.
Spring arrives and people feel happier or at least they are told to feel happier.
You no longer have an excuse to feel daylight deficiency syndrome or what ever they call it in Sweden, you can’t hit the snooze button because it’s light outside, you can no longer crawl under the duvet because now your 30 tog winter duvet just makes you sweat like you’re inside a sumo wrestlers jockstrap if you stay under it much after 07.00am. So you get up and go outside and it’s horrid because it looks like summer but it’s not, it’s CGI summer where the temperature is about 20 degrees lower than it should be and the cold winter weather has just changed to cold spring weather but someone has changed the sky’s colour scheme from grey to blue and dotted a few flowers around to make you think that Mother Nature knows best, she doesn’t because it’s still winter and the first frosts of spring kill all living plant life before it’s green shoots have got an inch above ground. Oh God I can’t even go skiing anymore till Easter and then I have to go to Chile or Azerbaijan or somewhere else a million miles away from a direct flight from Luxembourg. I have been lucky enough to spend two of the last four weekends in Marbella and Athens respectively and there Spring has arrived early, in November actually, but the locals just pack themselves off to bed for 5 hours in the afternoon and only get up when it’s dark. It’s the Med’s version of Hygge, they know they don’t look good in the light until about June so they hide away; clever people.
To celebrate Spring my work had bring your child to work day, great, now my children can see why I come home on a Friday like a grumpy heffalump. But this is not the only reason I hate spring. I drive to work and it’s light so I can no longer wave obscene finger gestures to Mr Audi or Mr Citroen Boxvan because they will see me, (Bus drivers are OK because they are too high up to see you and honestly do they really care anyway?) Women arrive at work with vanilla ice cream legs, at least get a spray tan or go back to your 40 denier black tights, I can no longer do Hygge because Depot don’t do candles anymore, it’s all Easter bunnies, and fake daffodils. People have ditched the layers of Jack Wolfskin Gore Tex and Fleece and actually revealed their bodies, OMG, please put the white T shirt from last summer away, you’re not ready for it yet and quite clearly you have no intention of giving up chocolate for lent do you?
I read somewhere a leaflet that outlined fifty things to do in Spring, Watch the sunrise, watch the sunset, watch the stars, if I did all that then the rest of the day I would be at the doctors complaining of a creak in my neck from constant looking up. Sunrise watching, sunset watching, sounds like burning the candle at both ends to me, though if I did then I would have the perfect excuse for staying up late, getting up early and then spending the whole day complaining about how exhausted I feel.
Spring into action, Loose the snooze. Sigh.