Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Cleaning

If you hadn't heard the frogs calling yet, or looked at a calendar, let me be the one to break the news to you (just a little late, but oh well)- It's SPRING!
I love this time of the year.  Trees are growing buds, flowers are blooming, frogs are calling, and the weather is warming, especially this year.  I'm an ecologist by training, and spring is just brilliant in my opinion, for all the wonder in the natural world that's going on.  The whole wide world, simply bursting with life.  It's wonderful, and I mean exactly that, full of wonder.
It's also full of work.  The winter chill drives people indoors.  We track in mud, snow, and other stuff of the great outdoors.  Doors and windows are shut, furnaces and fireplaces and woodstoves burn fuel and create dust and soot.  The air gets stale, and people get sick, passing around germs and snot and sneezes.  And then there's the holiday trees, and tinsel, and wrapping, adding to the grime.  And all that grime needs cleaning, once you can throw open the shades, let the breeze in, and fill the house with fresh air smells.  And there's the garden that needs tending, and the yard that needs care, and there's the over-indulged, under-utilized body that needs tuned up again and gotten back into shape.  Spring is hard work, mixed with beautiful beginnings.
That beauty is what makes the ugliness of some recent stories all the harder with which to deal.  The Trayvon Martin case, the Hunger Games tweets, cheating schools, and the Afghan shootings.  Among other things.  These are serious marks on our country.  Two of these have to do with some of our country's historic problems with racial equality.  We aren't the only country to deal with these issues, but that doesn't make it right.  Trying to be positive, talking about these inequalities and bringing them out into the open might actually, finally make some progress.  Like opening the shades and throwing up the window lets in the sunlight and sweeps out the stale air.  Maybe we can finally be frank, discuss difficulties like adults, and try to enter the twenty-first century like civil human beings.
Once again, the US seems to be at a crossroads.  We can take one road that forges the path ahead and let's us see new ground, or we can go around the block again, hoping to see a detail that we missed before.  Can we grow further than our past history?  Let all the little blossoms bloom to their full potential?  I promise you, the more colorful the garden, the better the display.  So hopefully, in this time of growth and beauty and cleaning, we can clean out our national dialogue and start a whole beautiful garden on its way to fruition.

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