Did you know that Daylight Saving Time begins on different dates in different parts of the world? In the US, the clocks went forward an hour on the 9th of March this year. In Ireland and the UK this happened on the 30th of March. With the timing of my recent visit back to Boston, I got to experience both.
It felt odd to have the clocks go forward twice. But it also seemed fitting. So reluctant and fitful was Spring's progress that it begged for a second chance, a restart. And a restart it got. You know how some years, after a watery March bleakness there is suddenly this one day when you go outside and are shell shocked by the explosion of green?
The day the clocks went forward, this happened. And I found myself on the bike, tripping out of my mind at the sight of this colour burst and its accompanying scents.
Starting off with one of my usual winter flat routes, I found it hardly recognisable. Where flooded brown fields used to be I now flew past carpets of buttercups and swathes of whin hedgerows, past clusters of fledgling fruit tree blossoms and pastures of freshly cut grass dotted with daisies. At first my eyes, unused to such splendor, kept averting defensively, reluctant to accept such a feast after a months-long famine. "Don't take it in all at once after a winter of colour-starvation. You'll make yourself sick!"
But I don't care, I want to eat it all up. I let my eyes open wide, and I stare, I take it all in - already knowing that these images will flash and replay in my mind as I try to get to sleep later that night, after a day shortened by the time change.
A gentle 15mph crosswind pushes at my shoulder playfully, as if to show how friendly and benign it is. As if to say, "Remember all those times this winter I tried to knock you off the bike with 40mph gusts? That's all in the past now. I am a changed wind, honest!"
Do I believe him and head for the hills for the first time since December? I go for it. The backroads that twist their way up and down the Roe Valley look rejuvenated since the last time I'd seen them, like a friend after returning from holiday - fresh-faced and healthy, glowing in their breezy jewel-tone resort attire.
Amidst the greenery and the sunshine and the road's seductive undulations I get lost in the moment, and that moment turns into hours.
Finally turning up the farm lane toward home with the waning still-warm sun at my back, I inhale the dizzying scent of cut grass one more time. And then I wave an eager good-bye to that grim, wind-battered, teary-eyed ordeal known as Winter Cycling. It took two clock changes. But spring has gotten a reboot, and so have I.