Last time I spoke to my mom on the phone, I told her the Berlin winter was finally melting into spring.
“You’ve said that every time we’ve talked for the past six weeks,” she replied.
An astute one, that mother of mine! Our exchange took place weeks ago, and I’m still professing my relief at this development as often as possible without styling myself as a weather conversationalist.
At first, as Berlin clawed its way out of the cobwebbed underground, the light breached through months of low grey clouds in taunting splashes of sun. Now it’s out in the fullest force known to the northern hemisphere.
Buds appeared on skeletal trees before exploding into green coats. White bodies carpet the grass at Görlitzer Park, and cherry blossom trees have arrived with all the splendor but none of the pomp of Washington DC’s annual show.
I took this photo yesterday, hoping visual evidence will shame the flora out of crawling back under the covers.
I know Spring is really here because the U-Bahn is full of Italian, Spanish, and French conversations once again. English has returned as the de facto language in cafes and the surly Germans who toughed it out all winter with me are outnumbered.
Where did they go these past months? One of Berlin’s best features is the space; empty trains, wide sidewalks, and residential sprawl with no real center take away the feeling of being squeezed from all sides that you find in places like New York or London. Yet on the shortest day of the year, when the streets were desolate and I couldn’t discern the end of the street from the sky, I nearly missed the comfort of cramming my nose into a strangers armpit during a crowded morning commute.
The Berlin uniform also has evolved. Bomber jackets, low-heeled boots, jumbo scarves pulled up over the ears, and thick black glasses frames have given way to– well, if we’re being honest, it’s pretty much the same without the scarf. A few more bike locks slung over shoulders for good measure.
My fourth season in Berlin is here, and it’s even more glorious than the ones before.