Sunday, April 09, 2006

Spring is upon us!

I love spring. Flowers bloom, leaves regrow and turn a bright, beautiful green, the sun shines longer each day, and people awake from their winter hibernation mode.

Don't get me wrong, we all know how much I love winter and the cold weather that comes with that wonderful's just that you've caught me at the one period of time where I get a little sick of the whole winter thing. At this point in the year, the snow is gone (assuming we got any, which we didn't really at all this year) but the drab, dead-looking trees and grass are still waiting for the breath of spring to blow life back into them. And the weather can never decide whether to be cold or lukewarm or warm or cold again. So don't blink, or you might miss the small window of time in which you can actually catch me say a few complaints related to the cold weather. Haha!

But, back to springtime. Now, in MN, the awakening from winter hibernation seems gradual, as people start going to parks more and more, they start showing up outside for longer periods of time, they start walking around town more often. It's almost slow enough that you don't notice it happening. Very midwestern feeling. Slow, but not ridiculously so. Just a nice, easy pace to the awakening from the winter hibernation period.

But here in Boston, there is no gradual awakening. There is no slow and easy transition into the post-hibernation period. It's as if people here can't believe it's actually warm out again. I've walked around the city all winter long, and not really run into too much traffic on the sidewalks because few people really brave the winter weather for a nice, peaceful walk or run. But these days (we're talking in the last few weeks here) the city of Boston seems to have tripled its "outside population." It's amazing! Suddenly people are everywhere! They fill the sidewalks, the streets, the parks, the stores, the cafes and restaurants. Sort of like a mass awakening from this winter hibernation. It's as if they all called each other and planned on the day when they'd simultaneously hit the streets of the city and show their bright new spring faces. Craziness!

And it makes me wonder where they all come from. It's like a huge crop of people just descended on the streets of Boston. Suddenly we have a population again! A pedestrian population to make Boston look once again like a pedestrian city.

Sure, in a practical sense, I understand that Boston has a large population and that it's a very condense city. So logically, it follows that each person lives somewhere in the endless apartment buildings and houses that one can find in this city and it's immediate suburbs. But it's just surprising to suddenly see all these people all at once. [Remember, this coming from the girl used to a gradual transition to a non-hibernating population back in the old Midwest.]

I said at the beginning of this post that I love spring. I have to say, though, that the experience of spring in Boston makes the transition from winter that much more fun and exciting for me. It's energizing to see all the people outside, walking the streets, talking and laughing and hanging out...instead of the winter alternative of huddling into their coats, running into warm buildings, and generally avoiding going outside when at all possible. My walks through the city are invigorating as I pass random people humming to themselves, smiling at passersby, talking to friends, and enjoying the sunshine and warmer temperatures. It makes me want to stand on a roof somewhere and shout:

Hello people of Boston! Glad you've all awakened once again from winter hibernation and shown your beautiful faces in our wonderful city once more! See you around town!

Thanks for making me smile, Boston. See you around town!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Random musings on a Friday afternoon...

Ever have one of those overly philosophical days...or weeks, even? That's been my week. Heavy on the introspection, extra helpings of personal philosophy sessions parading through my thoughts, and double doses of random philosophical musings popping up in mid-train-of-thought.

My favorite from the week?

I was eating lunch on Friday, rockin' to some classic pop music on my iPod, and the phrase gender-neutral came to center stage in my head. I don't remember the train-of-thought leading to it...not even sure I'd be able to adequately draw the map if I did we'll just move on, shall we?

gender neutral

It's a phrase I hear a lot in today's world. Related to being more gender-equal about things, more PC in the workplace, and also related to certain actions by a given individual of either gender. But, if you think about it...that's all the colloquial use of the phrase. If a word is gender-neutral, it can be used for either sex. If a person is described as "gender-neutral," it could mean that he or she doesn't exhibit the stereotypical traits of either sex.

But think about what "gender neutral" actually, literally, means. Neutral-gendered. Equal-gendered. Does that mean both? Does that mean neither? Is it possible to even be "neither-gendered?" It means that the scales aren't tipped in either direction...neither to the female nor the male side. It's dead-centered between the two genders.

I guess I don't really have anything more profound to say about this phrase than that. It's just an interesting tidbit to ponder. Not necessarily even that deep, I suppose. Just a funny notion...

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