I’m sitting on a bench. The big green in front of me is fringed with a row of pretty townhouses. The sun’s just above my head, and on my shoulders. My shadow is thick and stout, and sitting by my feet like a good dog. It’s very quiet here today. I can hear the distant din of the children in the school playground. And I can hear the birds.
It’s strange how you can really hear the birds at the start of spring, and after the thick silence of winter. You’re always aware of their voices – in the morning, outside the window, in the park, beside the bench. In Bengali, a lot of words come from the rhythm of sounds. Daily sounds, turned into words of literature. Simple, unsophisticated; but just right. Like kichir-michir, which is the word for all the things birds say. Or fur-furé, for the lightness of a spring-summer breeze. And chup-chap, a word for quiet. Saying it makes your lips stick together in silence.
But the birds are anything but quiet today. Like Chotto-ma, they have a lot to say. And right now, they’re saying, ‘It’s springtime’. Or singing it, like in an old-time musical. With saturated colours and large flowers nodding in the breeze.
I’m really feeling the spring this year. Like I’m hearing the birds. It’s very sharp on the senses, and it’s been making me ridiculously happy. The kind of happy that also tends to make me utterly useless. All around me, the change in season seems to have spurred everyone into a squirrel-like busyness. There are people clearing out their garages and sheds, and painting their fences. Spring-cleaning. That is what the season is supposed to do to you. Spring you into action.
Not me. I’m too happy to be busy. I can’t clear the shed. There are far too many daffodils for that. And too much birdsong.
I’m sitting on the bench.