I’ll be honest. We didn’t know it was Spring Day until someone said to us on the top of the mountain, “A beautiful way to spend the first of Spring, eh?”
Oh yes, we replied, as though it was all intentional, as though we had any grip on time and space.
I’ve never been one who much understood such barriers as time, except perhaps when it comes to airports. I haven’t worn a watch since I was nine years old. Nor have my mother or father, so perhaps it’s genetic. Or learned.
As time mysteriously passes, (although does it really pass if all we have, all that actually exists, is the moment?) I find myself even more detached from the restraints of the clock. I fall asleep when I’m tired and get out of bed when I no longer am. I’m fortunate to work from home so this is a luxury I know not everyone can afford. When I have early meetings, I set an alarm clock and am quickly reminded of the unnaturalness of living according to a snooze button.
Count this as the disclaimer for why we had no idea it was Spring Day as we made our way up the winding trail to the top of Lion’s Head, as we marvelled at the swathes of sweet wildflowers surrendering themselves to the rising sun.
Once we knew, everything seemed to make more sense. That day there were more flowers out than any day before (a guess more than a lie). The sun rose much earlier than it did a mere 24 hours before (at least it felt like it). It also rose faster, as though like Kerouac’s roman candles, mad and desirous to “burn, burn, burn … exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”
To photograph the golden hour of dawn, I had to spin just as madly, while we walked to catch the sun slipping through cracks in rocks and over faraway mountains to light up closer ones. Spring is here! It was shouting. We should have known. Nature did.
On the trot back down, sea and city at our feet, it looked a lot like all of Cape Town was on its way up – as though answering the call of Spring, the call of the mountain heralding in a new season, whether consciously or not (as was our case).
Even if we had forgotten, even if time had escaped us (as it should, at least from time to time), we could not keep Spring from coming, as Pablo Neruda wrote.
Such is the law of nature. Such is the force of flowers aching to bloom. In another writer’s words, those of Anaïs Nin, “The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”