I am an optimist. A belt-and-suspenders, prepare for the worst and be glad when it’s not optimist, raised by people only half a generation out from the Great Depression–but nonetheless, an optimist. I look for signs of hope while I choose not to downplay the suffering and unfairness that exist intertwined with that hope. I acknowledge the immensity of so many good things I’ve received, earned or not.
That’s been helpful during these days of up and down realities and feelings, the strange watchfulness and anxiety—what my fellow writer E.P. Beaumont has described to me as “Big Crisis combined with No Big Motion.”
All the motion I can do is walk.
Six days ago, I set out for the Sage College campus under a rain-brooding sky. I found my first spring flowers–popped up in a corner bed: crocuses, so perky and open. Some of them relaxed back, complete with raindrop sparkles (like those too-artful portraits with a single tear on the cheek).
A few nights later it snowed long and steady here in the Hudson Valley. Six inches or so of moist snow sounded like styrofoam squeaking as I shuffled through it. An umbrella protected from the plops and blops, let go from overloaded trees in the dark.
I thought of my crocuses and found them, as expected, buried and flattened under the snow.
Such a sadness. Did it portend or just reflect the horrors we are facing?
I noted what I found, felt it, and went on to tromp through the snow some more; I wondered at the thick white frosting on spring budded trees and even smiled at the usual landmarks softened in golden streetlight glow.
In daylight, the weather warmed and the snow melted away almost entirely. I went back, concerned at what I might or might not find.
There they were: beaten, torn, down in the mud. MY crocuses; it hurt to see them damaged, some flowers not coming back.
However, the mud, often disparaged, is for growing. I found another bunch of bulbs that had sprung back with vigor.
Some of the flowers will not return. Some will come back next year. Some are already OK.
I hear the message: appreciate what you can while you can. Feel what you feel, move your body, hold both the optimism and the bad news.
And dammit, take the precautions, be belt-and-suspenders! Do not weary of what will keep ALL of us vulnerable humans (those tender purple petals, every precious last one!) safe and able to blossom again.