Today we went for a walk…Sunday afternoon, and the sun was working its way out from behind the clouds. The trees are fully in bloom here, bursting with little pink, white, and yellow flowers, while the willows sway more heavily with their distinctively chartreuse foliage. The fragility of spring is extraordinary; it is its freshness, its newness that makes it sing for us – the promise that it cannot stay.
But spring has been strange this year.
I remind myself that it’s now 2012. That we’re battling climate change at every turn, that a normal spring day is anything but in almost every corner of the world – here it’s no different. We’ve got some mighty fish to fry as a species (and better off if we changed the menu to tofu, I might add). And yet we’re still weighed down by the same old shit. In the midst of this very real battle for life as we know it, there is still the rank stench of racism on both sides of the Atlantic, from the Trayvon Martin case and the potentially hate-driven murders in Tulsa, to increasing accusations of blatantly racist behavior on the part of the Metropolitan Police. There is still finger-pointing, for example, from men like John Derbyshire, who cannot accept that things are still terribly wrong and he is, in fact, part of the problem. There is still blame-laying, for example, from an Israeli government arguably too quick to use the word ‘antisemitic’ rather than consider that many great thinkers of the world condemn their behavior. There are still far too many people dying in what seem to me to be very unfair circumstances indeed.
What’s with all this doom and gloom in the middle of the year’s sprightliest season? Is it enough to tell ourselves that this is the way it is because this is the way it’s always been? Because I think that’s too easy. Things have changed, and not just climatically. Same-sex marriage is legal in ten countries and six-soon-to-be-eight U.S. American states. Women still earn significantly less on average than our brothers for the same jobs with the same qualifications, but in the U.S., we’re doing better in university and are more likely to attend, so the tables just might turn on that one – better yet, the odds might even out. And while the world does not react heroically as I wish it (we) would to atrocities taking place in every city, every nation, every day, those atrocities are being called out more loudly than ever before. The media may twist, but they also deliver information – how we interpret it, what we believe, and what we choose to do with that is up to us.
And, as we walked today, the birds were downright twitterpated. The air was brisk, but the sun was bright. Fishermen fished and insects crept along, and things were very much as I’m sure they’ve always been on Easter around these parts.
There are, no doubt, a lot of things wrong in the world right now. Whether there are more troubles now than before, I don’t know, but I do know we can’t let our guard down yet, and we’ve a long way to go, with a lot less time to dilly-dally than we might’ve thought we had in the past. I think I speak for the vast majority of the species when I say that the most extraordinary parts of this life revolve around creation…of ideas, life, love, solutions. That isn’t to say that winter won’t come – it will – but perhaps if we keep focused we’ll figure out how to keep winter in its own place, in its own time, and let spring get on with it.