This morning, out my front window, I watch as a passing Fort Worth school bus’ rumblings launch a jumble of wings. Our annual spring rite is now in full swing, when cedar waxwings swarm on my holly bush to gorge on its red berries. For me, this has always meant that in my tiny corner of Riverside, spring has finally arrived and, let me tell you, not a moment too soon. Don’t we all need some rebirth now? Don’t we deserve spring?
All over my ’hood, redbuds bud. Chlorophyll pops like firecrackers on a string. Springy spring has sprung with lush, newborn, waxy green leaves. And people you see while you’re out and about begin to change. Smiles show up on their faces where only sullen frowns were before.
It’s as if metaphysical pixie dust were dropped from on high. While in the dandelion mist, fat robins hop with ugly grackles, who never ever smile, and monarchs choreograph steps like the edge of some mountains on the far side of the moon. Tell me, with spring and all its beauty finally here, who in the world could be unhappy now?
Well, really, in 21st-century America, all of us. We are flooded with negative “news.” If it bleeds, it leads. While at the same time, politicians with black belts in fear mongering and scapegoating are succeeding beyond all expectations. And regardless of what side of the political fence you’re on, we are absolutely convinced the world is going to hell in a hand-basket. We just lap that stuff up.
Too many of us are addicted to our outrage, our self-righteousness. With modern algorithms, our phones confirm our every bias. We never have to consider that maybe, just maybe, we could be wrong. Or, possibly – even more radical – that the other side might have a point, even occasionally.
So I have a modest proposal. Let’s all chill. Just for a little while, anyway. Turn off your apps from your favorite news sources. Take an hour, take an evening, hell, why not take a whole day off from the circus that is our modern media landscape? Do not follow Twitter. Do not speak of the current occupant of the White House, either positively or negatively. He’s not going anywhere. Trust me, he’ll still be there when you’re ready to check back in.
And don’t feel guilty. According to Micah Zenko and Michael A. Cohen’s Clear and Present Danger, we are living in the best time in the history of the world. Fewer people are poor, and more people are literate than ever before.
Go out to Trinity Park. Check out the Botanic Garden before the city betrays its sacred trust and begins to charge for visits. (Sorry, I had to sneak that one in.) Go to Sundance Square and people-watch. Get some coffee or, if you desire, a stronger beverage and take in the beauty of the day.
Actually listen to the people you’re with. Pay attention to them. No, don’t look at your phone. Tell a special someone, face-to-face, how much you care. Chill. Relax. Take deep breaths. Remember to smile. People might just be curious how you can be so happy. Maybe, you’ll make a new friend.
Tomorrow or maybe later, when our always too-short Texas spring ends and the weather turns into our usual hotter-than-an-oven summer, we can go back to sneering at the idiots who are in the fill-in-the-blank party. We can hate on the so-and-sos who are ruining our country. We can make jokes about their leaders, like political memes that take apart their super-weak arguments and own the other side, but today, for just a bit, let’s enjoy the beauty of our world. Hold it close to our hearts. Appreciate life, as it is.