New Spring Warmth and the Hope it Brings
An exceptionally warm day in early March brightens the average Hoosier like any bona-fide spiritual experience would. That, or it might help one of us re-think a decision to throw himself off a tall building in Fort Wayne because he hasn’t seen the sun in six months. Either way, it’s a win.
We had such a day on Saturday March 5. While my honey slept in, I ran a few errands with the minivan windows down: pure bliss. I know they call it “false spring,” but there’s nothing false, in the moment, about triumphantly turning off the car heater that’s been running since mid-October.
We didn’t necessarily do a lot, but just to do not much outside in the warm light is a pleasure I hadn’t experienced in far too many months. I read a book in the backyard for a while. We have a two-seater camper chair we like to sit in back there. When I bought it last summer I told people it was to show my honey that I was serious about us.
The sound of children frolicking in an American neighborhood is yet another sign that the Universe does not bend malevolently toward chaos all the time. We listened. We sat and played on our phones. One of the neighbor kids climbed up the swing set/fort contraption in the yard behind us, brandished a plastic sword, and announced to another child, below, in his best approximation of Ewan MacGregor: “Give it up, Anakin. I have the high ground.”
We went out to eat at a local establishment where I enjoyed my favorite tavern fare and my boopski said the buffalo sauce for their tenders was perfect. Back home, we brought the camper chair around to the front porch to sit in the lowering sunlight, and I finished Scott Russell Sanders’ book of essays Hunting for Hope. It made me hopeful. I love it when a book delivers what it advertises.
Later on, we drove around looking for a fancy coffee and found it. We puttered over to the carwash I’ve preferred to use since aught-three and my loverly did all the work spraying down the minivan. Lo and behold, there was my colleague, Tom, pulling into the next bay over, popping out for a wave! It was a Mayberry moment among small town friends. Even weirder, it was two teachers co-existing in a public space that wasn’t the high school we teach at. The kids always think that’s pretty trippy.
After my lil butterfly administered the “spot-free-rinse,” we headed over to a gathering we sometimes attend on Saturday evenings. A brave young man, not a professional speaker, shared the story of the new life he’s making for himself without drugs and alcohol. I was proud of him. It takes courage to stand before 90+ people and tell that life story when you’ve never shared it in that way before.
In short, hope everywhere. Fountains of Hope. Hope dripping down from the bright face of the old courthouse clock in the early night. Hope followed us all the way into the gas station on the corner of Center and Detroit, where we bought a couple Cokes and my special person and Elgin, the guy working the register, talked brightly about the warmth of the day. Elgin’s face lit up like he couldn’t repress the smile. “Man . . .” he said. “I saw a bee!”