It’s March! We made it! January and February are finished. Here in North Carolina, winter is done. This weekend, I planted peas, cleaned off my porch, and brought home a hyacinth from the farmer’s market to bloom on my dining room table. I left the windows open all night, and the neighborhood birds started singing at precisely 6:01am.
15% of the US population has been (at least partially) vaccinated against COVID-19, including my parents, my grandmothers, approximately one third of my congregation and – as soon as the Walgreen’s website updates appointment times far enough in advance to schedule a second dose – me, too. Those numbers should shoot up as supply increases and the new Johnson&Johnson vaccine streamlines some processes. Case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths are falling quickly.
I have high hopes for this spring and summer: gardening, outdoor patio dining, a lot more hiking. I plan to get back to my goal of visiting all 40 NC State Parks, and that will involve taking a couple road trips. I want to hug my grandmothers, and return to visiting parishioners in the hospital. This morning, it all seems possible – maybe even imminent.
The refining that the last year has done has been powerful. I don’t have huge, fancy, expensive desires for this coming season. I just want to hug people, visit them when they’re sick, drive a couple of hours to climb a mountain and sit on my porch to watch some seeds turn into plants turn into food. I have tried several times to set larger goals or make longer-term plans, but I can’t bring myself to do it. I just want to return to a few simple, free pleasures. I am mostly looking forward to relief from the constant sense of dread that has coated over the last year.
This morning, I can feel the edge of it. And I am grateful.