BIRTHMONTH

Somehow, it was March again.

That ephemeral month that marks the border of spring in the northern hemisphere, when the ever earlier sunrise begins to warm and thaw the blanket of winter from the lands. How it whips up the winds to help scour the dead season’s bones from the ground and make ready the nesting grounds of the creatures who love the sun. Even us, we who have kept our hearts enshrouded during those dim and cold months so that we might better insulate ourselves throughout the long nights, now throw open the shutters and greet the day with blinking bewonderment. How good it is to smell the green in the air once more, to have banished the dry emptiness of the chill mornings! To store the heavy duvets for another nine months, replace the heavier wools with lighter cottons, once more mothball the caps and scarves so that the full glory of the invading season might penetrate our crowns and heat our necks of its own accord.

I was born in the spring, a mere eleven days after the official vernal point (or autumnal, though I have never been south of the equator to know such a moment) when the day is as long as the night. It was not by design; I had been conceived by accident during a hot night of summer passion in a roadside motel somewhere in California. Knowing the particulars of my conception has never bothered me, less so as they were related to me in my late adolescence, whereby then I had come to understand that more than a few of us human beings were in possession of unplanned existences, and not all matrimonial or parental unions were preordained by destiny or even born from love. There are so many little gateways of fate that a life must pass through in order that it might flourish, or at least reach the point of self-awareness, that none of us can take anything for granted, nor must we be surprised by any twists or turns of fate that life presents us. Thinking on such things for overlong can be a surefire ticket to madness.

So it is that when spring comes around once more I am made aware of my passage through time. Sometimes I ponder what it would feel like to celebrate this change of season in Australia, or Argentina, or South Africa. Would I still find myself possessed of the same shifting energies that signal both renewal and advancing age? To be moving forward into maturity, edging ever closer to that hard limit that all of us face, the limit of our breaths and heartbeats, the cliff that surrounds the horizon of our conscious thoughts, while all around me nature moves into her autumnal evening, the drawing of the shades and preparations for winter. Would such a time inflict a greater sense of depression, or impart a keener awareness of the preciousness of this short life? It is an experience I will have to arrange before the sand has run out of this hourglass of mine.