Monday, April 5, 2010

An Ode to Spring Break

This week is spring break for high school students across America, including my little brother. This is Matthew's senior year, so its his last high school spring break. If his luck with college spring breaks is anything like mine, this will probably be his last spring break that isn't spoiled with snow and cold weather and the impending gloom of late midterms that cast a dark shadow over what should be a week of freedom, relaxation, and sunshine.

Sadly (at least for this week), I'm not in high school anymore. Even more sadly, I'm not in college anymore either. So no more spring break for me.

But the weather's been warm and sunny. More like the beginning of summer than the beginning of spring. The air's been warm but dry, not marked with the humidity that is the hallmark of mid to late summer in Tidewater Virginia. All of the flowers are in bloom and pollen is in full-force, adding a springy, yellow tint to everything it touches (it hasn't attacked my sinuses yet, so as of right now I'm ok with all of the pollen).

All of this got me thinking about what was, hands down, one of my favorite spring breaks. I was a sophomore in high school, just turned 16. I didn't have my driver's license yet, but my BFF Meredith had just gotten hers.

Like all sane 16 year olds who live within 20 miles of the ocean, we were beach-bound that spring break. With her license, Meredith had earned the right to use the family clunker, a 1983 yellow Volvo. That car had no A/C, no cup holders, and couldn't really go faster than 50 mph, but it was our ticket to freedom.

Before leaving, we'd each scrounge up a couple of bucks. First stop was the gas station where we'd pump just enough gas to get us safely to the beach and home again. Then we hit the road - windows down, wind in our hair, CD player turned up all the way, blasting out Carole King's Tapestry over the sound of the wind whipping by our ears.

Once we were at the beach, we'd lay out in the sun, trying to get a jump on our summer tans. I do remember literally taking the plunge and swimming one day. I don't care what anyone says, or how warm the air is, the Atlantic Ocean in April in Virginia, is COLD.

After a few hours we'd head for home, stopping only for Slurpees or if the bridge was open. Just thinking about those days makes me smile, and maybe just a little happy.

Even though I can't take part in spring break this year, I wish everyone who is enjoying their time off, fun times, tons of sun, and wonderful memories with the best friends you could hope for.

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