[Lilacs under snow; February, 2015]
Today is Ash Wednesday. The Lenten season, forty lengthening days, begins. Today is a day to contemplate this precious “Pale Blue Dot” and where Mother Earth has been and where she is headed on her yearly journey around the Sun. Today is a day to consider Light.
Today I contemplate my fellow travelers on our Pale Blue Dot journey, we who live on this particular patch of the Northern Hemisphere, we of, basically, the same longitude and latitude—and the same distance and at the same tilt from the Sun. My fellow travelers and I await those lengthening days with keen anticipation.
As I contemplate my (increasingly exhausted and often cranky) Red Sox Nation compatriots, I remind myself: we don’t live in a war zone. We don’t live in Syria where 3.7 million of us (!), are now homeless. We don’t live in lawless and betrayed-by-its-own government northern Nigeria; we are not daily terrorized by Boko Haram.
No. I can say with certainty that my neighbors and I have heat and electricity and running water. Our supermarket receives daily deliveries—although trucks squeezing in and out of its snowbound parking lot tie up traffic for blocks.
And yet, despite how relatively benign this regional hardship is, small, communal, civic/civil acts touch me as though we truly were collectively under attack. Like when people shovel a path to a fire hydrant. Or when an exhausted, cranky stranger nevertheless steps to one side to let me pass as we both negotiate a narrow, snowbanked path. (And when I next encounter a stranger approaching another narrow path it’s my turn to step aside.)
Those Winter Sundays By Robert Hayden