It's not in the eight-inch-deep mud, not in the sun-glinted sheddings whisked away on the wind, not in the restive bits of play that the horses manage on such clumsy terrain. They are waiting too. They want to run and buck, twist and shift in the herd, have some space to move out wide open in themselves.
Work always defines the seasons for me, so I'm used to my calendar being skewed, out of sync with the year. Even the festival's rhythm has been altered this year, however. The grounds linger in doldrums, waiting to erupt into life. There was snow in the air just the other day, ceaseless rain before and after, all greyness the rest of the while. The park waits, poised to burst.
Sitting at my desk, watching the latest feral cat pace back and forth before my open door, I was thinking of days to come, feeling jittery within, seeming placid without. I should have been working, because this draggy winter has put me behind. We're none of us thinking of the festival yet, not with hail slurring like lava across the freeway. I don't have my game face on, haven't found my preseason war footing.
But today spring returned, carried on the sound of a plane whining in the sky, its engine humming and hesitating, first closer, then far away. It's the acrobat. This is the first day he's gone up to the sky, back after the long winter. I've grown accustomed to his practice, his looping and diving over and over again high in the sky. I listen for him like the sea and hear him all summer, especially in the dog days, practicing with a discipline I can only imagine. I was surprised to hear him today. The pilot is airborne again. Spring must be here to stay.