Somewhere underneath the dark, jagged crust of ice outside my window, my crocus and daffodil bulbs are waiting. Maybe they're even sprouting, but I'll never know, with all that snow. Suspended somewhere in the middle of that same snowbank is the sled we abandoned halfway through the winter, because it was too cold to go sledding; and frozen to the top of that snowbank is the bag of garbage we flung there when we couldn't find the garbage can, because it was buried in an even bigger, awfuller snowbank. Bag of gargage as white flag: you win, winter. You killed us all.
But no! It's the first day of spring. It's International Happiness Day! I refuse to mark this day by writing about frozen garbage -- and that includes all the other bad, sad, mad frozen garbage news that's been clogging up my newsfeed all week. It's spring, I tell you. Some years, we just have to look a little harder to recognize it. Here are a few signs:
1. It's World Down Syndrome Day and this video is deservedly popping up everywhere:
A simple message to mothers expecting a child with Down Syndrome, one that can't be repeated often enough: "Sometimes it will be difficult. Very difficult. Almost impossible. But isn't it like that for all mothers?
'Dear future mom, your child can be happy. Just like I am. And you'll be happy too.'
2. Today is one those special days when you can combine fun and science, and demonstrate in a memorable way to your kids the influence of the Vernal Equinox, when the day and the night are the same length. On this day, believe it or not, you can balance raw eggs on their ends! We do this every year, and it never fails to amaze my kids. Science! (Some day, when they are ready, we will do the next lesson, in which I demonstrate that you can balance raw eggs on their ends on any day of the year, becuase duh, they are eggs, with a weight inside. But not this year! Ha ha.)
3. Today is the birthday of Ray Goulding, one half of the irreplaceable comedy team Bob and Ray. Happy birthday, Ray, God rest your soul. As we prepare for Easter, here they are, with good news for us, bad news for them and their fabulous overstocked warehouse with its alert, uniformed attendants:
5. Concerned about the young persons and their evil ways? Take heart: whaling is a thing.
6. It's a wonderful day to browse through poems about spring. Here is dear Richard Wilbur in a pasture as he sees the double meaning in "winter's giving ground."
7. And today Fred Phelps, the father of so much grotesque hatred, died. Where is the springtime hope in that? As soon as the word went out that he was dying, I saw hundreds and hundreds of Christians promising to pray for his soul and his family and their victims. We believe in a Father who loves him and offered him mercy and hope until his final breath. We believe in a God who loved Fred Phelps and wanted him to come home -- and we are allowed to hope that this terrible man's heart opened to that call before it was too late.
Yes, there is a thaw coming.