Opinion: A Welcome to Spring and Its Promise of Renewal

… there can be no doubt that Spring is here, favoring us with a saucy display like a frivolous glimpse of a petticoat – with the promise of more and even extra delicious delights to follow.  I present Spring as a female  gesture from above, but make up your own menu of delights.  Mine is fueled by the appearance of fat rose blossoms and a bold stand of iris receiving the rare visit of a honeybee.  The lime, orange and lemon trees are sporting an overabundance of white flowers and producing an attar which even my aged nose can detect.  Welcome Spring, Easter and Passover! We need your promise  of renewal in this especially somber time.

In school, so long ago, we read of such things as plagues, those related in religious texts as well as those recorded in slightly more modern times. They occurred in days when medical knowledge was lacking and The Plague, The Pestilence were allowed their rampant march through the human realm with abandon.  Yet, despite the carnage and the obvious step backward by all the cultures afflicted, human hope, ingenuity and resolve raised up the thinned ranks to once gain command their destiny.  Spring, indeed, a proper metaphor for the restoration of  hope. 

Hope alone is not enough to invigorate everyone. The “human condition” is such that we must be with each other, that we are gregarious and require congregation, like souls or not. Consider how fortunate we are in this age that we have means of communication that allow us to congregate in ways unimaginable just 50 years ago.  Today is Toby’s birthday and already our landline, her cell phone and our emails have been filled with greetings from well-wishers in this country and abroad.  For one who coveted Dick Tracy’s wrist radio “way back when,” those devices go far beyond my expectations.  We now can obtain all the news, both good and bad – and hope that everyone has the good sense to tell the difference.

There is no reason to avoid the obvious in the current situation, we cannot at our peril.  We live in a time when science has become far more a friend than a menace.  Facts matter more than ever. Among us are thousands of people who have dedicated their lives to the task of sorting out who and what we are and how the rest of Nature impacts our lives.  That the ranks of those in the medical field are being especially affected is, in fact, Nature at work and especially frightening.  Yet, we are taking two steps forward and only one step backward at this juncture and our pace will eventually allow for a full stride forward.

 We must believe our scientists and medical experts. We cannot totally disavow our politicians, but we must consider what motivates them. If they are truly acting in the best interests of  their constituents, we can certainly listen to their counsel.  Initially, I listened to Governor Newsom every noonday when he reported on the state of the virus attack and defense in California.  I was impressed enough to email the White House, hoping that our president would also watch the governor and learn a great deal.  Our Los Angeles County regular reports are  most important.  We have our online source of information in WEHOville.com, which provides an important connection and ongoing forum with residents in our city. The daily federal  report is far less encouraging.  (When viewing that on TV, I am reminded of the legendary King Canute who, so deluded by his flattering court, believed he could bring his throne to the edge of the sea and command the tide to retreat. Of course, he failed.)

Dog walkers are the most noticed pedestrians these days.  Our Marley takes Toby on a prolonged hike each day despite his gnawing arthritis.  A lesson to us humans is that exercise is important even as we are “in place”  – and an ardent display of Marley’s unconquerable  spirit and delight in being alive. While not all of us can have a dog to walk for exercise, and to remind us that we can overcome  the potential to see things in a dark fashion, we are stronger than we might think.  We rise above our fears to conquer them, but we must also deal with the reality of the randomness of COVID-19 and follow the instructions of our state and county caregivers.  I’m looking forward to walking down my block, being able to stop and speak with neighbors and even soon to go to the concerts we so miss now.  Our Spring will be a welcome one.

Well, enough sermonizing.  Have to make a few local phone calls to neighbors to see if they found the Easter eggs we left for them.


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Leslie K
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Leslie K

This is lovely Carl, thank you.

Barbara Meltzer
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Barbara Meltzer

Dear Carleton. Thank you so much for this exquisitely written piece. It is honest and sad, funny and sweet. It is beautiful, and offers the promise of hope. How lucky we all are that you took the time to write and to share it.

Larry Block
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Larry Block

One can feel the hope of the spring air and touch of community with just a glance into the eyes of Mr. Carleton.