ROUGE SPRING, ROUGE APRIL
What strikes us on these early April days in Taipei? What causes the sky to shimmer like a burnished dream, and the sun to peek out early in the morning and linger later, with the day being loath to go for the shortening time when the sun comes out again? It is the season of the year.
For it is springtime and it is April and even though a chill is on the distant hills the color in the evening sky spells beauty in the hours. The colors of sunset red upon the breathing ocean swells turn to brilliant orange and finally blushes into pink feathers upon the clouds.
The soft winds play upon the days and hours, surging and fluttering the way a harp would play, but there is no sound, only the melody. It is then, the rhythm of spring that old folks recognize and which makes them smile with memories and with joy.
It is the young people who must know it is spring in Taipei, for it is the season of the young. To them nothing brings joy to the heart like the coming of spring. Those who might be blind throughout the long and weary year are like to open their eyes then, and the sunrise takes them while they are after being charmed by the tiny, virgin flowers stretching hands up between the stones toward where the birds twitter upon the boughs of the trees.
This is the time when the young people, a little younger than the old and a little older than the very young begin to preen and prance and the young girls become apt to blush and stammer over every “good morning” which is given to them. And then young men do talk in loud voices and flex their muscles while they walk stiff-legged and swaggering down the street. And they make great show of trimming the winters’ growth of fuzz from their chins with small scissors, explaining seriously that to shave makes the beard grow faster and clipping stunts the growth.
Which may be true, but no matter how they clip, there somehow always remains a mustache which is vaguely reminiscent of so many Clark Gables or the like. And even with the younger males there is much standing on hands and riding of bicycles with the feet on the handlebars – or some other dangerous stunt which is designed to impress the fluttering hearts of the demure female admirers.
And these are often wont to watch in admiration only to toss their noses into the air and walk away if they think that someone is watching. And it is this that causes no end of broken hearts, to say nothing of various other sundry bruises and hurt as the little roosters try to out crow one another.
And we, the older and wiser ones, are happy with the season which has come like a blanket of fragrance over Taipei, for springtime is truly in the air these days. Even the days of rain and wind carry the overpowering sweetness of the bursting buds of green trees from Grass Mountain.
And we can sympathize with the restless dogs who ramble from their comfortable winter spots to walk the streets for a chance after chasing some stray rabbit which instinct tells them may be hopping down Chung Shan Road. For he says to himself, it is a time for fun for a dog who has not had such a chase for the whole winter long.
And we are suddenly joined by the little birds who twitter in the trees and we wonder what brought them here in this rouge April. And we can imagine them somewhere in the south muttering:
“A wonderful place this, sure and comfortable with the green trees – but wife, do you recall the little boys in Taipei who try to catch us and the silly cats as well, and how happy everything was? Shall we go back there for a spell of summer, woman? Our wings are stretching strong this day so lets away!”
So spring is here. Rogue spring and rogue April. Another spring to wrap into our memory book with all the other springtime’s we have known.
COPYRIGHT 1955 BY JOE BROOKS
Reprinted with permission
Reprinted with permission
Joe Brooks writes of Taipei as it was in the mid 1950s when this article was written.
Find more information about Joe Brooks and this series of articles HERE