When I think about last spring, April of 2020, my mind flashes to a lot of places and just one place all once — and that's our apartment here in New York. I won't lie — it's hard to reflect back on and even the sound of a siren today, a seemingly normal occurrence in a city this size, makes me think about walking down 7th Avenue on what would by all accounts be a beautiful spring evening, to only find it deserted. Stores and restaurants shuttered, with nothing but a consistent ambulance wail piercing the 70 degree skies.
I know I'm not alone when I say that each day in 2020 brought a new sense of fear and anxiety, while we tried our best to remain hopeful that little by little, light would lead us out of such a dark time. Plans were canceled. Family visits were postponed indefinitely. Harrowing headlines punched us in the stomach. And we lost loved ones. Too many loved ones. The world of our making — of theater, of concerts, of crowded restaurants, stopped spinning. Practically overnight. Of course, the outside natural world didn't stop, as winter slowly loosened its grip, giving way to spring. I remember watching the tree in front of our window, my portal to the outside world as I thought of it then, admiring it as it stretched its limbs and flowered once more. Birds chirped, happily unaware — flitting from branch to branch, perhaps building a nest or two. It was a spring season none of us could touch. None of us could bask in. None of us could relish. How could we? The stakes were too high to do so.
I thought about all this last week, as I sat under the wide branches of a cherry blossom tree in Central Park. Petals seemed to float around me as the breeze kissed them, the early morning sun dappling through to warm my dawn chilled skin. If last spring was seemingly stolen, I thought to myself, I would try my hardest to steal it back this time around, in all the ways that I (safely) could. Starting first with this magnificent tree near the Strawberry Fields entrance — the perfect spot to sit alone with my thoughts, as the city I love slowly comes to life for the day. Now tell me, how are you relishing spring these days?
As for this week's playlist, I'll admit it's a bit of a mixed bag of artists and genres (which is exactly how I like it) but I promise there was an undercurrent of "feel good nostalgia" running through it, perhaps perfect for your next spring evening walk when you need to clear your head and lift your spirits. I know this week (and the past several weeks/months/past year) have been incredibly heavy so I wanted to put something together that could make you feel reassured, and songs from my youth always make me feel that way. And if all else fails, listen to Des'ree on repeat until further notice.
Photography by yours truly