Walsh's Wonderings - Pandemic Spring

Spring couldn’t come soon enough this year. We’re finally stumbling out of our enforced isolation, rubbing our eyes against the sunlight and trying to remember what life was like before this interminable hibernation. We look around and it’s clear that hope is starting to emerge like lilies through frozen ground. After a 28-month winter spent shivering in the shadow of COVID-19, the budding daffodils seem to herald the proliferation of vaccination stations sprouting up across the region.

Just as some flowers burst forth too early and wither with a late frost, some of our neighbors are too early trying to time travel back to 2019. As of this week, fewer than one in four Americans have gotten even one dose of the vaccine. Like the shots themselves, hope should be present but in short supply. A tide of irrational exuberance seems to have some of us abandoning the hand washing, mask wearing, and social distancing that allowed this fragile spring to arrive at all.

This week in Miami Beach, spring breakers seeking the unbridled freedom of which they’d been robbed these many months whipped themselves into a maskless frenzy. Cities were forced to impose curfews as police desperately tried to save these people from themselves.

Just as the early removal of the burlap sacks that swaddle new plantings in winter can signal their doom, these folks exposed themselves (and their neighbors) far too quickly. Boredom with staying home isn’t an excuse to plunge us back into the dark days of last spring.

Of course, there’s a bit of those spring breakers inside all of us. Who doesn’t want to rip off their face shield and abandon the bunker mentality we’ve had to adopt for the last year? I desperately want to go out for a drink to converse with friends (trivia night and dollar beers, anyway). I want to go hiking or kayaking (although I’ve rarely done either) or go out for dinner and a movie (well, an overpriced ticket, oversized popcorn, and a $10 box of Milk Duds, anyway).

We all want an end to drive-thru graduation ceremonies and standing on the lawn to wish Grandma a happy birthday through her window. However, it’s too early to retire those plastic gloves and 20-gallon jug of hand sanitizer; put a hold on those fantasies of dismantling that hastily built home office and reclaiming the kitchen table for dinner. Don’t cancel those extra streaming services or extra internet bandwidth just yet.

If we were lucky enough not to be directly affected by the coronavirus, there were some good things that came about as a result of this time in our caves. Many of us rediscovered old board games hiding under the stairs and spent more time with family, even if these were sometimes a mixed blessing. We were reminded to appreciate the little things: a concert in the park, the importance of school teachers, and toilet seats being the only surface we obsessed about sterilizing before every use.

It’s too soon to declare victory, especially as some remnants of this long winter will haunt us like the frozen dog poop currently thawing in our yards. Zoom meetings are here to stay, Jason is never going to get the hang of taking himself off mute; and lining up for injections is not just for diabetics and recovering addicts anymore. We bears of hibernation are awake with a hunger for all the things we can’t do… yet.

It’s okay to wander out from our winter lair; just don’t forget why we were forced in there to begin with.

You can read more at RobertFWalsh.com , contact him at RobertFWalshMail@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @RobertFWalsh .