Can I hold these two opposites in my heart?
Downtown Brattleboro on a recent Saturday afternoon.

Can I hold these two opposites in my heart?

Spring is about life. We’re living with a plague that kills and imprisons us.

BRATTLEBORO — It's as if spring didn't want to arrive. The skies still so gray; I watched snow flurries fall yesterday morning.

From my apartment window, Mount Wantastiquet still looks brown. No signs of new green; only the old deep-green of scattered evergreens. And in the Harmony Parking Lot, the maples are absent of their annual tiny red buds.

The late light does not match the empty, silent streets. Where are the kids running in the park?

Where are the outside cafés with their tables set on decks and sidewalks? The daffodils look forlorn and lonely - one here, one over there - as if they, too, were practicing social distance or hiding in the ground like we're hiding in our homes.

I imagine the flowers don't want to see the death toll, the refrigerated vans outside hospitals waiting to transport the corpses, the lines of thousands of unemployed waiting for a meal or a food bag. Nor the masked people hurrying in and out of the grocery store, running back to the shelter of their locked-down homes, if they are lucky enough to have one.

* * *

Spring is about life. Newborn foxes playing in the yard; robins flying low, carrying twigs in their beaks; blooming shrubs of green, red, and yellow, after the endless browns and whites of winter.

How could spring possibly arrive amidst all this death and sorrow, which surrounds us day and night, all over the world?

I find it almost unbearable, to live each day with this contradiction. Spring and a plague that kills and imprisons us. Spring and such uncertainty and dread.

If I were spring, I would not arrive and yet, it may be that this is when we most need to dream of spring, to will it to arrive with our yearning and desire. The warmth, the sun, a field of daffodils, and pots and pots of blooming tulips, every, everywhere.

Can I hold these two opposites in my heart? Is my heart big enough to take in this late, reluctant spring and the agonizing silence of a loved one who can no longer breathe and is condemned to die alone, without friends or flowers to say goodbye?

This is my challenge today: to make my heart big enough to hold these opposites of life and death, joy and sorrow, fear and hope, patience and desperation, together and at the same time.

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