Last Friday night James and I went to go see Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.” Have you seen it? I read it in high school and watched the movie many times but James had never seen or read it. In the past year we decided that we really wanted to make an effort to see more plays, ballets, and concerts here in the city. I don’t want to turn to our kids someday and explain to them that all I did in this amazing city was brunch. Although, as they will be related to me and James, they will probably take brunch very seriously. When I see a play by Shakespeare or Wilde, I wonder if we have gotten dumber as a culture, or if we have just gotten so lazy with our language skills that we have lost the ability to create something like Wilde’s fast paced verbal sparring. Despite the difference of over a hundred years, his words have lost none of their humor today. Muffins will always be funny. In the midst of our laughter, one of the characters declared, “Whenever people talk to me about the weather, I always feel quite certain that they mean something else.”
And we do.
This week, we can talk of nothing but the weather around here. Last weekend the sun came out and the temperatures sored. We went out without coats and gloves, we turned off the heat, and we put the extra blanket in the closet. James’ brother and his girlfriend are spending their spring break with us and we strolled leisurely through Eastern Market, enjoying the fresh flowers and sun. I baked my first summer strawberry cake and we ate caprese salad and pretended like it was June. James and I took a long walk Sunday and I enjoyed an iced drink, even though it was still cold enough to freeze my hand off.
And then yesterday, the temperature dropped 40 degrees and the wind picked up and we all got inexplicably angry. Everyone I spoke to on Thursday talked about the weather. But really, I’m pretty certain we are talking about something else.
We are talking about the hope that spring brings and our eagerness to see it wash over the gray. We are talking about how ready we are for flowers to fill in the dirt and for the days to stretch longer and push back the night. We are talking about our need for sun and light and warmth and joy. We are talking about our excitement over new life and fresh starts. We are talking about the changes in light that come with seasons, and how that light illuminates different parts of the world for us. We are talking about one of the last infuriatingly powerful things that we cannot control in this modern world. We are talking about a longing so complex and multifaceted that we can’t fully put words to it. On the cold days that creep back up, all those hopes are threatened and we feel the wrongness of it all through our souls, but we don’t know how to talk about it.
So instead, we talk about the weather. Because by talking about the weather, we are talking about our world and our own tiny little place in it.