Spring comes late and gently to upstate New York. It had already arrived in the city three weeks ago when I was there, bursting into soft green and triumphant bloom, filling Central and Riverside Parks with wondrous beauty. 

On the trail by the Mohawk late this morning, there are volunteers filling large garbage bags with the detritus that has gathered over the winter in the shrubs and along the bank of the river. Who are you with, I ask one smiling couple. The Democratic Party, they reply. I’d have been surprised if they’d said the other party. Yeah, agrees the man. “There are Democratic cleanups organized all over the country,” he says. “Just for fun I looked on the Republican party site. No cleanups. Not even a mention of Earth Day.”

I shake my head. “That party is—“ I hesitate—“really eff’ed up.” “Good way to put it,” he agrees. We’re all laughing and I know we’re all really sad. 

I can understand why Dominion settled and it grieves me that an opportunity for the viewers of Fox to hear some truth has evaporated. As one headline said, Murdoch lost the case but won the war. 

This week brought us driveway shootings, innocent mistakes that were fatal. I have certainly turned into the wrong driveway more than once, or used one to turn around in when I’ve been going the wrong way. I guess I won’t be doing that anymore. 

It also brought a Supreme Court decision that saved mifepristone, at least for the time being. The ruling by a single judge in Texas that sought to overturn decades old FDA approval was so egregious that it drew a 7-2 SCOTUS decision. I was not surprised to read that Alito and that miserable excuse for a human being, Clarence Thomas (you warned us, Anita Hill, you warned us) were the two opposed and even they didn’t do so on grounds that had to do with the ruling itself. 

Though I went on my share of marches in the ‘60s, I’ve never been an activist and realistically don’t think I’ll start now. My new friend has spent her life breaking barriers and bravely speaking her mind. She was part of the change that allowed same-sex couples to wed, as she simultaneously fought racism and for the acceptance of gay people that is now being eroded once again. She doesn’t give up, and she doesn’t stop laughing when life presents her with the opportunity. 

So I am sitting here on this spring morning, with a cool breeze tickling my neck and the river meandering slowly in front of me, looking at the trees bursting into leafy profusion on the other side of the water, and know that even with my historical bent toward despair (both personal and generational), if I listen, I can hear the laughter in the murmur of the river and the birdsong that floats along it. 

It’s my first spring in the northeast in almost four decades, and I am grateful. 


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