After weeks of isolation and horrific winter weather spring is showing off its glory everywhere in my neighborhood. April and May are perhaps the most beautiful times of the year where I live. By June the temperatures will mostly remain in the nineties and by July they will be trending toward one hundred degrees or more. Spring around here is glorious in every possible way and this year brings more promise than ever as more and more people get fully vaccinated and feel free to get together safely for the first time in over a year.
I generally awake early. I can’t seem to sleep for long periods of time anymore. Once the sun begins to barely peek through my curtains I arise and begin my day with a routine that I really enjoy. I make myself some tea and breakfast and take it to my front room where I enjoy the gathering of children at the bus stop near my home. I love the sound of their laughter and conversations. These days they are fully masked and ready for the ride. If this bothers them they don’t complain. They appear to have grown accustomed to the new ways of doing things. Children are incredibly flexible like that. It’s one of the aspects that I most like about them.
Once the three buses have picked up the elementary, middle and high school students, in that order, the parents begin their journeys to work. I listen for the garage doors to open and observe them navigating to the end of the cul-de-sac. Many of them now stay home and work remotely so the neighborhood is more populated and lively during the day than it has ever been in the past. I like knowing that my friends are nearby if I need them. Now and again one of them has an emergency and we all don our masks and do whatever we can to help. An elderly man recently fell and was unable to get up on his own. He was too heavy for his daughter to lift him alone. Some of the younger neighbors who work from home had him on his feet in minutes and luckily he appeared to be fine. That brought a big grin to my face. I like knowing that I am surrounded by good people.
I especially enjoy watching one of our locals begin his day with a stringent exercise routine that he completes in a gym he has created in his garage. He faithfully dedicates one hour each day to a series of exercises and weightlifting that is so inspiring. I marvel at his agility with a jump rope and long for the days when my knees allowed me to do such things. Instead I stick to my treadmill and long walks around the area. Such is the exercise of choice for most of the other residents who fill the sidewalks each morning as though there is an official promenade.
Spring cleaning and repair seems to currently be the most popular task. Everywhere I gaze I see painting and planting and hear the sound of hammers and saws. Garbage days bring sidewalks filled with tree limbs and worn out items that nobody wants anymore. Sometimes enterprising individuals drive by in their pickup trucks scoping out the trash in search of items that they might recycle and bring to life again.
Back in early March the landscape looked as though there had been a forest fire on our properties. Bushes were brown from the freeze. Lawns seemed to crackle under our feet. Everything felt gray and muddy and lifeless. We were outside with all of our neighbors attempting to coax our trees and shrubs and flowers back to life. It was a daunting task because certain varieties were quite obviously dead. Now green is everywhere. The lawns are growing so fast that everyone is mowing again. The trees are filled with lovely leaves. Roses are bursting with blooms of many colors. Flowers seems happier than ever before. It is like a landscape painting from Renoir around here and it makes everyone smile.
Mostly I enjoy seeing the children finally playing outside. They ride their bicycles and play basketball at the end of the street. They run and laugh and fill the air with unadulterated joy. They remind me to remain hopeful because happiness always finds a way to bloom even in times of great distress.
The world is certainly coming back to life where I live but I find my heart feeling a bit heavy over the places in the world where suffering from Covid-19 is at unparalleled levels. I understand that as long as anyone anywhere is dying from this virus we are not yet home free. I have to continue to pray and do my part to beat back the devastating effects of this pandemic which has so tragically united us all as fellow humans. I long for everyone everywhere to begin to feel the same sense of optimism that is slowly but surely poking its head into my part of the world.
The birds and butterflies fill my yard and entertain me from my windows. My optimism soars from all that I see but I cannot become complacent. We are one in this world and nature, even in the form of a tiny microbe, is an integral part of who we are. We should be happy to celebrate a bit while still respecting those around us with the same precaution and care that we have given our gardens and our homes. This should be a time of renewal and repair with all of the people throughout the world. I hope we heed the call to put in the work. If we do our efforts will surely bloom.