By Dannie Elizabeth
It’s early in the morning. The hard plastic beneath me is cold and uninviting, and I pull my scarf a little tighter around my neck. The soft cotton feels comfortable and soon begins to warm me although I know it won’t help much in a few minutes. As I step out, I’m greeted with a gust of wind that stings my cheeks and makes my eyes water. It lasts for only a minute but it leaves a lasting impression on me. I bury my hands further into my pockets, reaching deeper and deeper until the seams meet my fingernails. I walk with my head down watching the cracks in the pavement rush by as I weave in and out of foot traffic. The horns are blaring, the traffic makes a symphony of noise but none of it bothers me; they are the sounds of my childhood, my lullaby at night and the white noise I live in.
As I hurry to catch the light, I smell roasting nuts and pretzels. They immediately make me feel warmer, but not necessarily hungry. With one misstep, I bump shoulders with a fellow pedestrian. I look up instinctively but it’s just a sea of black and grey dotted with emerald green, deep plums and rusty reds: that season’s trend colors. Looking ahead I can see the early morning glow just coming over the trees with their burnt orange and golden yellow leaves. It creeps behind the skyscrapers that line the street, trying to engulf their massive steel structures.
I pop into a local coffee shop to grab something to fight the cold and keep the “I’m awake!” feeling that the wind started just minutes before. Everything smells of pumpkin, nutmeg and cinnamon…fall is here. You can feel it, smell it, and soon taste it. It doesn’t take long until waiting in line causes my body temperature to rise. I release the scarf that was all but attached to my neck, pull my hands out of the warm pockets and move anxiously in line.
I wish it were warmer out so I wouldn’t have to wear so many layers. I want to be on a beach, in my swimsuit drinking a cold beverage while I lounge on the sand. Fall seems like it will never end and the worst is yet to come.
Fast forward a year later…
I wake up sweating – not profusely, just enough to make me get out of bed. I put on my shorts, grab my backpack and start the search for my keys. My helmet pinches me a bit under the chin as I fasten it and I can feel the heat starting to move through my hair towards my scalp. As I sit down on the black leather, I am reminded of how early the sun got up today and jump up, startled by the heat.
Winding down the road the warm breeze cools me and I start to relax and just drive. I speed passed the luscious green trees towards their mountain counterparts. To my left an astounding turquoise sea that seems to go on forever is the only direction I need. The light reflects off of it to making it sparkle and dance and I pull down my visor to see better.
I won’t need my shoes until later so I leave them with my bike as I walk barefoot through the sand. It sticks to me and scratches between my toes, but my rough feet barely feel any discomfort. Laying out my towel I can feel the afternoon sun resting on my shoulders and they start to burn. The burn feels good but I know in the end it will get the best of me, so I take out sunscreen. Its familiar smell blocks the salty air just for a moment and then disappears into nothing. I seem to become a magnet for sand immediately and start an unintentional exfoliation treatment brushing and wiping the sand, but it sits there stubbornly mocking me.
It’s noon now and the sun is out to get me. Standing alone in the sky with not a cloud in sight, it gawks at me, waiting for me to make the first move. I lose in the stand off and retreat to the water. The salt on my lips tastes good and the cool water refreshes me for a moment. But I know the sun is waiting for me to return to our battle.
The water only helps for so long until it feels as though I’m taking a bath. Walking back to my towel I wonder when I will feel the cold wind sting my cheeks again and laugh because this is what I wanted, it’s what I dreamed of, wished for and pursued. And I know one day I will miss the sand, the sun and the turquoise of the water in Thailand as I walk the cold streets of New York but…
I wonder what Spring is like in Germany?
Dannie got on her first plane to Canada at the tender age of nine months and since then she hasn’t stopped. She currently lives in Thailand where she works as an ESL teacher and gets her travel fix on the weekends. Her most recent escapades can be found on her blog, Eat Well, Travel Often. Dannie also contributes monthly to the popular NYC fashion blog, Merci New York.