Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spring (Break) Comes to Flatbush

I left my office at midday to make the solo drive up the NYS Thruway to fetch our oldest daughter home from college for spring break. I fairly flew up from Boerum/Adams Street, to the Brooklyn Bridge, the FDR, the Willis Avenue Bridge to the Deegan, to the Thruway. I think I listened to "Love and Theft" at least three times.

Although the snow was gone from Rockland and Ulster Counties, ice still clung to some of the rocky outcroppings along the highway. Despite the bright sun, it was cold and clear.

I arrived at the campus, we loaded the car, stopped at the natural foods market for some snacks and got a couple of coffees at Starbucks. My daughter always gets iced coffee, no matter the season.

She offered to drive home which was great. I offered to hook up her Ipod to the car's sound system but she said, no why don't I drive and you DJ. But we started chatting and somehow never got around to the music. College life, family tales, future plans, speculations on why some colleges scheduled spring break this week (think college students + St Patricks Day + beer), highway versus city driving, campus discussions and conflict over Israel and the Palestinians. She said she only became aware of the Governor Spitzer issue when one of her professors mentioned it. Although the campus is relatively close to Albany, there was not a lot of discussion or awareness of it until he had actually resigned. My daughter is an international relations major (& Italian studies minor). She was pleased to report that a Palestinian classmate had written her name out in Arabic, and she had written her friend's name in Hebrew to their mutual amusement.

Suddenly, the skyline appeared in the Bronx and we were back in New York City. I had looked forward to this mini-journey and it proved to be some wonderful time, on the road, with my daughter (who will be 20 on March 17).

When we drove down East 17th street and turned onto our block, it was quiet and good to be home. A Thursday road trip, it was a nice punctuation, more of a comma, or an elipsis at the end of the week, promising a nice Friday, despite another day at the office, before a weekend of longer days and more sun. But there was more.

When we pulled up and my daughter maneuvered the car into the garage, there it was, right in front of our home, the first crocus had appeared. Bathed in these first few days of long sun, spring had made its appearance in Fiske Terrace. Yellow spikes, unmistakable, the primacy of nature and the promise of life in its many cycles. Promising in a few short weeks the white and pink blossoms of our cherry tree and then the prime green of the Japanese maple. Spring had made its way to Flatbush in time for spring break. And not a moment too soon.

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