It is the second Monday after spring break for them. The campus, on the cusp of April, reeks of gloom and resignation. Clouds have eaten up the sky in its entirety – it might pour at any moment. I awkwardly stood on the lawn facing the concrete apartment complex as people were drifting by.
How a month’s time can give a completely new perspective, I wonder. The grass lawn that appeared well-tamed and unambiguously green a month ago now seems almost barren, with rather embarrassing patches of bare spots forming a zigzag dirt trail across the area. The carcasses of leaves are evenly spread across the lawn, precluding even the slightest hint of life. It is strange, almost counterintuitive, that vegetation of a sleepy suburban collegetown can so dramatically wear away when spring is around the corner. Nature asserts her mercilessness even in so small and obscure a place as this.
The tall, V-shaped poplar remains relatively constant – rough, lanky, and above all, obscenely naked. Insofar as it remains leaveless, I cannot tell for sure if it is a poplar. Unlucky day for its numerous hands – today there is no sunshine to caress whatsoever, only tantalizing drops of rain. Last month the tree hinted a promise of life, that once the harsh winter is over, the lush green would once again prevail as if nothing had happened. The whole universe eclipsed by lead-grey clouds, now it drags me into the deepest pit of bleakness. Who said spring is coming?
How a month’s time can give a completely new perspective, I wonder. What has changed? The environment being observed, or the inner workings of an observing mind?