A Cold Spring.

By: Jen Shoop

The Friday before last, I ate dinner outside on a flagstone patio underneath twinkle lights with good friends and bare shoulders, and a few days later, it turned cold again. I resented the reversion, and then sat shivering in my studio wearing inappropriately light clothing for much of the week, in feeble and futile protest. Though it eventually climbed up to 70 degrees, I carried a chill with me all week. A neighbor and I went on a walk together on Wednesday and I arrived at her door wearing three layers in spite of the bare noon sun: sometimes, the cold just catches. It took thirty minutes of hilly conversation to shed the top layer, and I kept thinking of Elizabeth Bishop’s wonderful poem, “A Cold Spring,” in my noontime defrost. I had just been listening earlier that morning to a section of the Anne Lamott book in which she talks about the occasional technical problem of representing the passage of time in language. She makes the point that you might be more easily able to represent these transitions visually — leaves turning color, a clock’s hands, etc — but in writing, they can often feel belabored. Anne Lamott would probably love and envy Elizabeth Bishop’s poem, then, which is about as masterful a representation of the flow of time as you’ll find. The stanzas carry themselves unbidden from the first thaw of spring to the fullness of firefly-dotted summer. You can read the crescendoing stanzas in full here, but my favorite couplets are the first:

A cold spring:

the violet was flawed on the lawn.

For two weeks or more the trees hesitated;

the little leaves waited,

carefully indicating their characteristics.

The punctuation, the way it designates a cadence of circumspect hesitancy, is a marvel, but so, too the personifications: I find myself feeling roundly for the little leaf waiting, “carefully indicating [her] characteristics.”

Post Scripts.

+More on my love of Elizabeth Bishop.

+Thoughts on Nora Ephron’s Heartburn.

+An ode to the Upper West Side. (New York is still a shock.)

Shopping Break.

+Urgent: Appointed is launching its well-loved day planners, weekly grid planners, and year task planners today. These have sold out in the past. They run from July 2023 – August 2024 so you order now and enjoy a fresh planner come midsummer. I am highly tempted by the day planner, which they brought back this year after a hiatus. As you know, I LOVE this brand for notebooks/lists/task pads.

+Perfect vacation/beach dress.

+A great white linen basic.

+ADORE this little bikini for a little love. (Under $20!)

+Newly on my beauty lust list. Have been hearing SUCH good things about this moisturizer. (More spring beauty buys here, and European pharmacy finds here.)

+This caftan is so gorgeous.

+Into these earrings.

+Love the tile print on this $129 dress.

+Loewe lust.

+FUN starfish earrings.

+This crochet dress!!!!

+OK but how good is this rattan footed bowl for keys, or matches, or fruit?

+Under $80 rattan heeled platform.

+Everyone’s favorite beach caftan now comes in a tiny size for little loves!

+Love the exaggerated collar on this white mini. 70% off, too!

+Gorgeous engravable heart necklace.

+These floral linen patches (on sale!) would be so cute attached to a girl’s backpack.

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