The crocuses are the first sign of impending spring. Three of them arrive in a boisterous clump on the front lawn every year around this time. As always, I am elated. I don’t put much stock in groundhogs but crocuses have a firsthand relationship with the earth; their appearance means something. I know that they may get suffocated by snow in a few weeks but for now it is a beacon of hope.
The bike is the second sign. The fact is that it’s been warm enough to bike much of the winter, and after reading about how the hardy residents of Copenhagen bike all year round – half of all journeys to school and work take place on bicycles! – I was determined to follow their example. But I lost my momentum once the first round of freezing days arrived, and it’s only this week I am back out on my red recumbant.
Some bike snobs look down on recumbents, but the fact is that they offer back support and help a lot of people who would otherwise find it difficult to bike. How can you argue with that? Also it’s harder to ride up hills so we are not complete wimps.
Primaries, they’re a sign too. The bike has old bumper stickers from 2008 and 2016. I am not thrilled with the person who will be on the bumper sticker in 2020 – the best candidate imho was a woman – but am holding out hope for a female VP (please if there is a higher power up there, let it be Stacey Abrams).
With Spring so close I am full of hope. And fear. Interesting that the Tibetan word for hope is rewa, fear is dokpa, and the word re-dok is commonly used to show that hope and fear are two sides of the same feeling. According to author/dharma teacher Pema Chodron (from whom I learn this information), because hope is future-based, it robs us of the present moment. She suggests we see abandoning hope as an affirmation: “You could even put ‘Abandon hope’ on your refrigerator door instead of more conventional aspirations like ‘Every day in every way I’m getting better and better.’”
Abandoning hope sounds like a much better idea than feeling hopeless, which is easy to do these days. Easy to feel hopeless or fearful about the country, about contagious diseases and the climate, both physical and civic. Easy to feel it on a personal level too, hopeless that I’ll ever break through the isolation I feel as a writer, as a person who thrives from engaging with people much more than I do now; hopeless about working to change my own life while undertaking the Herculean task of creating a good life for V, where he is a contributing, beloved member of a community.
“Without giving up hope – that there’s somewhere better to be, that there’s someone better to be – we will never relax with where we are or who we are.” So here we are in an especially unwieldy month where temperatures go up and down; the time changes; the air grows thick with predictable particles causing seasonal allergies – a minor inconvenience compared to a potentially deadly virus. I keep hearing about volatile markets due to a time of insecurity, as if insecurity was an exception rather than a reality we can’t escape. The road ahead is filled with potholes, flat tires and bigger obstacles we can’t predict, and buds that will bloom when they are ready.