It’s March. This was going to be a column about jelly beans. But then, I looked out my office window and saw the four-foot high snow drift covering the bird feeder and thought to myself, “No. No jelly bean column THIS week. I cannot stand the idea of writing about jelly beans in March with all that SNOW out there in the yard.” It seems sacrilegious to wax all poetic about jelly beans and March snowdrifts in the same column. Easter, today at least, seems a lifetime away.
Then, since jelly beans were, um, off the table, so to speak, I thought that this column would be about how, most of my life, the first day of March has always been the official first day of spring for me mentally, even in years when we still have a lot of snow. But I checked the outside temp and realized that even someone who is Governor of the Great State of Denial can’t deny that we have a long, LONG way to go this year. A governor, who, most March Firsts usually smiles and says to anyone who’ll listen, “Oh, I know there’s snow…but it won’t last! We made it through January and February! It’s MARCH! It’s SPRING!!!!” Not even someone like that, no matter how hard they try, can put a positive spin on a March First with a -44 below windchill. Trust me, I’ve tried. Because here’s what happens. People who formerly thought you were sane start stealing worried glances in your direction and whispering about you in hushed tones, convinced that you’ve finally snapped. So, there’s that.
Then, since jelly beans and March Firsts were no longer options, I thought I’d write about something that is going on in the world, since so much is, or about which of the films up for an Oscar I’ve seen, or that I’d write about how our Girl came home to visit her mom and dad over the weekend and instead of going out with her friends, stayed home and watched two movies with us. However, none of those things seemed like enough to fill a column.
So then, I decided that what has been on my mind most, when I’m not griping about the endless winter, is how lucky I am to have all the people in my life that I do. How lucky that, at least today, I can say that I’m healthy, that my two children are happy and whole, that I have a job and a marriage and parents and aunts and uncles, cousins, siblings, and friends in my life. Today. Today I have all of this, all of them. If my luck holds, I’ll be able to say the same thing again tomorrow, and then the day after that.
But today, I know that nothing is guaranteed for tomorrow. Not health, nor wealth, nor the people we hold most dear. I’m conscious of this and am trying hard to do a better job of remembering it. Every day, but especially today. Because I know other people woke up this morning facing a different, painful truth about Loss. How it may sometimes sneak in through an open window, taking small parts away and may, at other times, barge in rudely, invading the life of a person or a family. How we should never take a day for granted when Loss passes our doorway and instead, knocks on a door down the street. Because we never know. And tomorrow? It could be us.
We are at our best when we keep this in mind, I suppose. Maybe we are our most alive, most loving, most present in our own lives and the lives of those we love when it happens. Maybe it takes the howling of the winter winds for us to appreciate the warmth and light of what comes afterward. Maybe.
If there is a lesson, maybe this is it.