If I recall, it was right around this date last year that our pandemic lock-down began in earnest. My anxiety–as an immune-compromised person–had already been building for a couple of weeks when faculty and students at my college got an email saying classes were suspended, immediately, and that we would be moving everything online the following week. I remember feeling chagrined and relieved, and not a little disoriented.
It’s hard to believe a full year has passed, that Spring, once again, is just around the corner. I’m eager for its arrival, but it seems a bit hesitant, showing its face only in fits and starts of sunshine and birdsong. I decided to urge it along with a colorful ball-cap, one that bursts with blooms in spite of its declaration of grim reality. Cancer sucks, and the buds beginning to emerge on the trees make my heart sing. Both of these things are true.
If you can’t tell, the flora on my cap are of my own creation. A sweet Agnes Scott College classmate of mine sent me the undecorated cap several years ago when I was first diagnosed, and after that first round, it got tucked away in a closet. When I found it recently, I decided to give it a spring makeover with some fabric markers. Along with the flowers, I included a couple of lines from a favorite poem, “The Peace Of Wild Things,” by Wendell Berry, which captures so beautifully one of the reasons why I am eager for milder days and the access to the natural world they grant:
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Yesterday was blue and balmy; today the skies have thickened and the breeze blows crisp. A cluster of golden daffodils, seemingly sprung up overnight, shines from a corner of the front yard. I tip my blooming ball-cap to their nodding yellow bonnets, and await the next harbinger of spring.
I rest in the grace of this world, and am free.