We had just gotten used to the idea here in northeast Ohio, that February was, in fact, the beginning of spring. Yellow aconite and white snowdrop blossoms had flourished and disappeared in the early warm temperatures. Daffodil leaves were spiking higher and higher. The Birdtwitterfeed had put out the word to head north already. Goldfinches began to molt, and returning robins were a bit confused as the semi frozen ground produced no worms. I even thought I heard a mourning dove last week when it became March. Or was it actually April? Just how far did I spring my clock forward? The robins are not the only confused ones. I woke up to a few inches of cold wet snow almost covering daffodil buds. My bird feeder is mobbed with finches and sparrows along with robins hopping underneath now and then to eat the fallen seeds.

If this is a lion ushering in March, then we’re not in a very fierce neck of the woods like… California? My lowland friends there are working every day to prevent serious flooding. Their home and outbuildings were built while living in a drought. Digging out trenches to channel and pump the water into the street drain is proving to be tough work. My friend said that the water table is so high, when you push the shovel into the dirt, there is an immediate lake to contend with. And then further south in the California mountains there is snow measuring in yards.

I know there are so many discouraging things happening in our country and world to be concerned about. But to finally be confronted with the powerful results of global warming on a daily basis can’t help but be unnerving as a fundamental fear. It is our planet. The earth beneath our feet. The home to billions of creatures with whom we are interwoven. All of our financial concerns, immigration concerns, health concerns, food concerns, education concerns, political concerns- all of them will be further impacted as each country will have to deal with the massive changes that must be made if we are to survive and thrive despite these ongoing disasters. There is hope we will find how to urgently make these changes. Sadly, it will be after dealing with these unforeseen consequences from what has long been set into motion.

We face each day, we give our best, and we help others if we can. Post PANndemic (and I know many people who just got COVID for the first or second time though it is now labeled ENdemic…) we are more aware of our mortality than ever before. If they can manage it, folks are taking that trip they always wanted, purchasing that car no matter how much inflation has raised the price, or finishing a languishing project- before it’s too late. We take a deep breath before the tsunami of problems overwhelms us and we think, “If not now, when?”

Of course, every eldering person already has had this same thought as our bodies begin to lose energy, mobility, and stamina. For that very reason, I decided to create two community contributions for this spring (no matter the weather outside). One is a short comic skit to contribute to Kendal’s annual performance called Spring Fling. I wrote a medieval sounding song called Ye Olde Springe Flinge and have concocted a mock ancient ritual where one friend is playing his lute and singing this song with me, and two others are suggestively flinging off their winter gloves, hats, scarves, and coats one by one to reveal their summer clothing. Yes, seniors know how to have fun.

My second project is more serious, and I think it will be unique and lovely. My friend Rebecca is an amazing wildlife photographer. We have placed some of my poems on slides paired with her photos. I will read the poems out loud as they appear on a large screen in the auditorium which will also be shown on our in-house TV channel. The last two poems will be spoken by my husband. Some years before Richard died, he had recorded them on an album I created (with my friend Cathie and others) as my thesis for my ordination as an All Faith or Interfaith minister. My Kendal community here has come to know me but, of course, not the man I lived with for almost fifty years. When those last slides are shown, I can now listen to his warm resonant voice without crying, and even if I do cry, no one will mind at all. I am grateful that I have this means of introducing him to my new friends in Ohio.

My body has not taken kindly to organizing and sitting through rehearsals for these two efforts. I knew it was beyond my comfort zone to attempt things that would have been simply fun and nourishing in the past. After these events are completed, I go to see a new neurologist to find out if he can discern why I am rapidly losing the neurological muscle information needed to sit up or walk. If I sit up for an hour or so one day, the next day I am flattened by weakness and pain and need the whole day to recover. Maybe in March 2024 there will be more open daffodils and maybe I will have seen some physical improvement or maybe not. I have joined those who say, “if not now, when?” as I look to accomplish unfinished writing projects orphaned on my computer.

As to solutions to our planetary problems, I hope that more of the world population could effectively rise up and say to those in power. “IF NOT NOW, WHEN?”

2 thoughts on “March: If not now, when?

  1. There are many unknowns in our future as older people and in the world as you note. It’s hard to keep up. Or do I need to at 81 when my body no longer listens to what my head wants. There’s much to ponder!


  2. There is indeed so much to bear witness to- all we can do is our best in our own communities and spend our share of hope and love as best we can. thanks for reading, Judi


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