The waiting, as Tom Petty knew, is the hardest part. Along the slow turning of the wheel of the year it’s now light enough to go jogging before work. That won’t last, however, because Daylight Saving Time is imminent and will set us back a month in the illumination department. Also I haven’t been able to jog because the massive snowstorm we had a couple weeks back dumped over two feet of snow on the jogging trail and it hasn’t melted yet. I miss it. The jogging, I mean. I’ve become one of those people who never the leave the house and I see how difficult it is just waiting. Waiting for the snow to melt. Waiting for the vaccine. Waiting for the light.
I’m no psychologist, but I have to wonder if that isn’t one of the greatest stresses faced by the many stir-crazy people who’ve been shut-ins for pretty much a year now. For us this snowstorm took away the little mobility we had. Getting out daily for a constitutional put me in touch with nature, at least. Now nature is under a thick, crusty white blanket, slumbering away. But the birds have begun to return. With their avian wisdom they’ve seen the end of winter. Suddenly this past Wednesday they were here, bringing hope in their wings. Birds have long been symbols of freedom—we’ve got a couple bald eagles in the neighborhood, reminding me of that. A far more ancient association was that between the bird and the human soul. The ability to soar.
We may still be mired in winter, but time is inexorable. Relentless. As the globe wobbles recklessly back toward the warmer seasons we need to take responsibility for our part in global warming. Ironically these freak storms are the result of an overall warming trend. The weakening of the jet stream that allows cold northern air to drop snow in Texas and storms to cover much of the rest of us all at the same time. The pandemic has helped clear the air a bit. At least we’ve rejoined the Paris Climate Accord, and we’ll try to begin undoing the damage to our planet that the last four years introduced. It will take some time, of course. By now we should be experts in biding our time. The snow will melt. The light will continue to grow. I will get back out on that jogging path again. But for now we wait.