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It's March, just after St. Paddy's and the Ides. Please keep your green beer and dire predictions far, far from me. I am in full-tilt optimism mode, although well aware of the neighborhoods', the cities', the nations' and the world's trials. In fact, I have been hyper-aware for a longer time than healthful thinking permits. A break from outage, despair, and dyspepsia is in order.

Step outside a moment, onto ground, though a carpet of snow remains where you dwell. Look with me for the sign of growing things. What a marvel, what a delight to see sprigs of green--even if they are weedlets ... blossoms however shy ... oh, oh! that bush I thought was beyond saving! It flaunts bitty dots of what surely are leaves becoming. My eyes disbelieve and my heart and brain make speedy corrective action. If you say, or even think, "Foolish woman, this is all just nature, merely routine," I must chide your lingering winter attitude. To me, you see, and you must by now, these little trumpeting energies are miracles. Their appearance every year--only think of it!--is the rationale for hope, even for faith. Giddiness, for those so inclined, sweeps aside insistent pessimism. For one less given to flamboyant displays, a subtle nod of the head, maybe a slight smile, can certain a reserved expression of glee

In their appearance, the modest miracles of spring join bare feet in signaling our tangible connection with earth. Where the eye sees barren landscapes, war-torn terrain, flood- and fire-ravaged murals as far as the horizon, the noticing of life demands too much. What use have the haggard and broken for a dot of green? Am I callous? Altogether heartless? Judge, if you must, yet consider that there are barren landscapes not only on terra firma but in the mind. There is starvation of the body and a corresponding listlessness of spirit. One can name other deprivations, plagues, and devastation. I have lost and been lost time and again, afraid to step forward or take a step back. My trials have been moderate, trivial if one doesn't look below the surface; they have been difficult enough.

Though my education is forever incomplete, I have learned this: the sanguine overcomes the pessimistic. With practice, each movement away from a bleak outlook cuts a pathway to resilient coping, if not outright transcendence. Days of impenetrable darkness and chill, nights of heat so intense that sleep is unreachable, illness that brings on a wish to die ... these challenge the most stalwart optimists. They challenge; they do not defeat. When there is nothing of stability to grasp, summon a look up; locate a star. Summon a look and wander beyond the horizon. Summon the strength to seek a tiny sign of life. We all are part of that life, and that is not nothing.


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