Writer in Residence

Spring in Elsinore

By Julie Joosten

In the beginning of Spring I often think of the very beginning of Hamlet:

ACT I
SCENE I. Elsinore. A platform before the castle.

FRANCISCO at his post. Enter to him BERNARDO

BERNARDO
Who's there?

FRANCISCO
Nay, answer me: stand, and unfold yourself.

It’s the “stand and unfold yourself” that comes to mind when I move into the warmth of spring light after living for months among the shallow angles of winter sun. The increasing steepness of sunlight through spring and summer, the tendency—of plants, of animals, of people—to unfold to follow those angles is visible now on the streets of Toronto. Bodies linger, frolic, bask, grow; they manifest relief and joy and pleasure, and at times, the pain of redirecting an instinctive falling inward into an unfolding outward. When I’m walking down the street, I see bodies gesturally articulating an erotics of spring light. An unfolding that’s chemical, instinctive, emotional, mindful. Perhaps our thoughts incline gradually or steepen with the season; perhaps our feelings disperse or concentrate depending on the sun’s distance from the earth.

What I love about this “stand and unfold yourself” feeling as an imperative of spring light is that it demonstrates how different modes of embodiment (vegetative, animal, neurological, behavioural, emotional, seasonal) co-occur in tangled or hybrid webs in bodies across kingdoms and species. And it makes for deeply pleasurable Saturday afternoons in the park.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book.

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