“I am alive, and drunk on sunlight.”
― George R.R. Martin
I grew up in a three-season climate. The temperature change over the seasons wasn’t dramatic and I rarely noticed any deviance from the standard range. Back then, when nature wasn’t toyed with, the sea controlled the steady state through the year and I never found a need to adapt to any given season. There would be hot summers and spells of heavy rain, but the temperature would always hover around the mean. That’s before global warming and rapid construction messed everything. However, I took for granted the sun and the light it brought along. I also underestimated my own dependance on the sun.
“My old grandmother always used to say, Summer friends will melt away like summer snows, but winter friends are friends forever.”
― George R.R. Martin
When we moved to Seoul, two years back, the cherry blossom trees were pregnant with new buds. Spring would ultimately pave the way for a torrid summer. I had heard horror stories about winter and chilly temperatures. During our first winter, I didn’t expect to adapt quickly to negative temperatures. They were off the steady state that I preferred. But the human body is pretty malleable and adapts when you subject it to the extreme — in small doses. I was doing better than my counterparts who were visiting from four-season climates. Strangely, I was the only one asked if I was cold?
“What breaks in daybreak? Is it the night? Is it the sun, cracked in two by the horizon like an egg, spilling out light?”
― Margaret Atwood
Honestly, it wasn’t the cold that got to me. You can always layer up and wear the thickest jacket and hold a hand warmer. But how can you pull out the sun from hiding? How can you tear the clouds apart and let sunlight bathe the sky? How can you keep your morale high when the gloom shows no sign of receding?
“When pain brings you down, don’t be silly, don’t close your eyes and cry, you just might be in the best position to see the sun shine.”
― Alanis Morissette
This winter was awful. January was bitterly cold. Fortunately, the sun came out more often. By February, we all started feeling the residual effects of a receding winter. We wanted it to be over and done with. The sun was playing games with us again and I didn’t realise how glum I was feeling without the light.
“Smile my boy, it’s sunrise”
― Robin McLaurin Williams
It’s spring now and the cherry blossom trees are pregnant again. Some of them have already given birth to pink and white flowers. In a week’s time, for roughly a week only, fairy dust will descend on Seoul. Birds have started hitting the high notes, only to be outdone by squealing kids who were trapped all winter. Spring also marks the return of grey skies with an occasional shower. But this time, I have those pretty pink and white flowers to take my mind away from the sun’s continual game of hide-and-seek. I’m going to rise up and revel in the colour fest that will soon follow.