As of Saturday afternoon, my soul was limp and grey. I had accepted that spring would never come to Utrecht.
I had cycled stoicaly through the dark winter frosts of January and had even cheered when snow carpeted the ground. I survived bleak February drizzle on the hope that spring would soon arrive brightly. The first half of March passed with temperatures hovering just above freezing. While donning my dank and dirty down coat, I comforted myself with the old adage: March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. If I could just hold on until April, my knuckles would unthaw.
Dutch winter laughed and decided to kick me one last time.
On April 1st, I was forced to cycle cross-town through high winds during a heavy hail storm. My hair dripped, my face stung as sleet battered my cheeks and my clothing was sodden. Arriving home, I glanced at the enviable temperatures in Seattle and Hong Kong and collapsed near the radiator while my children prepared a round of hot chocolate.
Then on Sunday morning, I woke to the sound of fast, light footsteps hunting for chocolate eggs. Opening one eye, I could see blue through the window. Drinking coffee while my children nibbled bunny ears, I realized that the sun would shine all day and that the temperature would finally break ten degrees.
Emerging from the house, our eyes recoiled at the long-missed brightness. We cycled into the green outskirts of Utrecht. We cycled without gloves. I even unzipped my down parka. There were flowers, birds, pancakes to be eaten outdoors, smiling locals, open ice cream shops and joyous traffic wardens.
Spring had arrived and my bike and my spirit were floating at least ten feet off the ground.