The First Day of Spring
Before I became interested in photography I never gave much thought to the seasons. The months and years came and went, but I didn’t pay attention to the details. My view of the world has changed a bit over the last few years, and these days I do notice the seasons change because of the role natural light plays in both photography and filmmaking.
For all of my organisational needs, for instance with my Lightroom workflow and folder structure, I follow the astronomical definitions of the beginning and end of each of the four seasons. Ed and I disagree on this. He follows the meteorological definitions, insisting that June is a summer month and that I, born at the very start of September, am an autumn child. What we can agree on though, is an informal and less prescriptive definition of the first day of spring. It is a definition that we leave in the capable paws of our 14 year old cat, Minou.
From late October through until some time in March, Minou only ventures out onto the balcony to use her litter tray or if we’re out there with her, brushing her on the bench or cleaning muddy running shoes. The balcony in autumn and winter is a place for business, not pleasure. Once the snowdrops start to come through though, and the sun is once again high enough to clear the buildings opposite ours and paint rainbows on our living room wall, we both start to wonder when Minou will ‘turn right’ (instead of straight ahead for her tray) and return to her garden in the sky.
Yesterday afternoon as I sat at my computer I heard the cat flap open and shut, but no sound to indicate she was busy excavating. Five minutes later when I still hadn’t heard her come back in, I opened the window and looked out to find her sat in a pool of sunshine on the pallet ladder at the far end of the balcony. It’s quite a steep ladder but she’d managed to climb onto a higher rung and position herself so that her body was in full sunlight. I couldn’t help but laugh, reach for my camera, and then message Ed, my dad and my brother to anounce the start of spring.
Other unofficial signs of spring…
The buzz of lawnmowers and the looped nursery rhymes of the icecream van on sunny afternoons.
Hearing car radios through open windows as the afternoon rush hour traffic pauses at the lights outside.
The first day I walk home from the gym without a coat.
Seeing new buds form on the bay tree a friend gave me for my 21st birthday.
Cherry blossom watch outside the Ikon Gallery in town.
The sound of the Ikon’s haunting bells drifting on the wind.
Sunlight in the hall and on the wall above the piano.
Finding BBQs and charcoal on sale in the supermarket.
We may be a week away from the equinox, but Minou has declared it. Winter is behind us, and the best days of the year are here.