Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - April 10, 2003

Rites of spring

Bill Geist, in his segment on the CBS News Sunday Morning Show, talked about spring. He mentioned Daylight Savings Time and how we had all changed our clocks to give us an extra hour of sunlight at the end of the day.

"We can all use more light in our lives now," he said.

I agree.

The war in Iraq has cast a collective gloom on our country and the rest of the world. Whatever our political viewpoint and whether we have loved ones serving in the armed forces or friends or relatives living in the area, we watch and worry.

The technology that allows us to "get up close and personal" and the constant coverage have been overwhelming. I've started chewing on my thumbs - brought on by the stress of feeling that things are out of control.

It's a good thing it's April. We need reaffirmation that spring is here - in spite of drizzly cold temperatures earlier in the week. We need to know that new beginnings are possible - even in the midst of sorrow and war. We need to focus on the bits of light we are given every day - the fresh green grass, leafing trees and blooming flowers.

The yellow daffodils and forsythias against the dark green grass and blue sky make me smile every time I see them. And when they are side by side with lilac-colored redbud trees, white Bradford pears and red flowering quince, the spectacle is breathtaking.

Washington, D.C. has its own awe-inspiring scenes. On the Sunday show, Geist talked about the cherry blossoms lining the parks there, and expressed his hope that President Bush has been able to enjoy their beauty. Certainly the weight of his recent decisions guarantees that he needs his spirit renewed even more than most of us.

Spring births give us another reason to celebrate. A small news item reported the National Zoo's two Giant Pandas are expecting a little one.

"Guess spring is in the air," the reporter said.

Some of our spring rites are man-made. The beginning of baseball season, basketball winding down and the upcoming Master's Golf Tournament are all sure signs of spring. Even in Iraq, TV reports showed our soldiers taking time to throw a few balls or to shoot hoops. Another showed soldiers watching the Final Four - at 3:30 a.m. Iraqi time.

Jewish congregations are preparing for Passover, an eight-day observance commemorating the freedom and exodus of the Israelites from Egypt during the reign of Pharaoh Ramses II. The observance, which begins on April 16 this year, includes special songs, services and food.

Area churches are getting ready for Easter, celebrating the resurrection of Christ, also with special songs, services and food.

And of course, stores get in the act by offering aisles of fluffy pink, yellow and green bunnies and chicks and rainbow-colored jelly beans for sale.

Spring is a time of great hope and promise for all of us. Perhaps we should work on carrying the feeling spring generates in us throughout the year.

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