Here is the good news: it’s a bit warmer and a bit lighter and the election is over which means that once we get past the reassessment (should he. shouldn’t she, why didn’t they, disagreements of family and caste) we shall not have to have every newscast dominated by an ersatz update.
If politics is now in a new era of inclusion, could perhaps pollsters, pundits and political assessors expand their group to include soothsayers, card readers and future predictions based on coffee grounds ? There is a lot of bad coffee around, this would be a good use for it.
I am not good at spring.
People are endlessly hopeful about spring. One day’s sunshine and it’s all bare arms and white linen. Whatever happened to “caste not a clout till May is out” ?
A warm spring day is a thing of wonder, tiny green shoots, softer light, birds billing and cooing, a gentle breeze on the face. It’s about hope and people like their hope topped up, refilled and refreshed.
An anxious type, I spend spring trying to second guess the weather and getting it wrong.
I nearly hugged a young woman I don’t know the other day when she said she hardly ever got it right, too many clothes for the cold morning or not enough to come home in, she felt a fool.
This spring has been perverse: warm with a cold wind or cool with a warm one and as the weather systems have fractionalised and increasingly broken down, it’s harder and harder to guess what will be happening in the next thirty minutes or a couple of miles down the road..
In contrast to the good news, the bad news is endless.
The earthquakes in Nepal, the displacement of people throughout the Middle and Far East, the thousands risking life and limb to people smugglers – which only tells you how desperate and frightened everybody is – to die or be dumped from leaking boats in the Mediterranean or in some camp that stinks and kills all hope, a breeding ground for other kinds of desperation.
We all have ways of distancing ourselves from bad news. We avoid the newspapers, turn off the news on radio and tv – or go out of the room and do something else.
Long ago I decided that, for me, avoiding the unpleasant made it worse.
Better to face it, though facing it means different things for different people.
Whatever I thought about the election was summed up in Nick Clegg’s phrase
“fear and grievance has won – liberalism has lost”. He may have been talking about the party but I think too he was alluding to a wider principal which has come to be tarred with the word “woolly” – though there is not much woolly about my liberalism nor that (I hope) of the 5,000 new recruits to the party he lately led. Generosity (of the purse or the spirit) is not real if it is only based on guilt and good manners. It has to be tougher and more down to earth than that.
But spring means starting again. And I am not sure I know how to or where to begin.
I feel like a child who wants to hide under a table till the thunder has passed. I remember my big white bullterrier who was terrified of thunder, equally frightened and embarrassed about being frightened, that’s how I feel. I may not like the people in charge for the next few years but they are – to use a friend’s wonderfully evocative phrase – the evil of two lessers.
This spring finds me tired, because I am older and sometimes I feel it, and because I had a bug that must have liked me, it lingered so long.
I can see the continuum of every other season but spring is contrary – better when it’s better, worse when it’s worse and usually in the manner of nature, both at the same time.
Perhaps spring is more a state of mind than a season.
Anyway, file under “must try harder.” And look for good news.