When the birds titter

I work in a padded room–or rather, a small cubicle with walls into which I shove dozens of tacks. There are no windows, no real plants (the ones we have need dusting, might I add), and no fresh air lifting my hair off my shoulders. All day long I think analytically, examining lines of code and text, following a set schedule of assignments, pushing myself to stay on task while the fluorescent bulbs above me buzz and flicker, reminding me that when I leave this basement I will only enjoy sunlight for another hour or two at the most.

But when the birds titter and sing–nervous and as anxious as I am for the coming of spring–nothing can get in the way of my delight or shove out the brightness of the sunshine. On my walk to my car this morning I strolled instead of dashed; I lifted my head instead of bracing myself from the blustery winter winds; I smiled and opened my ears to the sounds of a thawing suburban world: the splash of tires whipping through the puddles in the street, the sing-song hope of birds in the trees, the crackling pop of melting ice and snow as they shrink away to reveal grass and dirt underneath. I can smell rebirth. My chest inhales buckets fresh air–fully expanding for the first time since November. The chill is gone. The change has come.

On days like this it’s impossible for fluorescent lights to make me forget the sun. Only when you’ve known the grayest winter can you understand the relief of spring.