Friday, March 20, 2009
Welcome to Springtime. Good luck!
That's the statue in front of the Rayburn building. The flowering tree is on the Capitol grounds.
One of my favorite spring activities is a brisk walk down to the Capitol midday during the work week. All is beautiful and serene - well, at least the environment is serene. I'm talking about the sweetness and light of daffodils and the pink clouds of tree blossoms, soft air and sunlight. In the midst of this pastoral setting though, is a furious mob of dark suits, ID cards hanging around necks (like balls and chains), furrowed brows, eyes focussed on the Blackberrys in hand. The mob is rushing around, this way and that way, oblivious to the gentle beauty all around. It's kind of hilarious.
Please do not misunderstand - I'm not making fun of the people who work in the legislative branch of U.S. government. They are the hardest working people I've ever known - by a long chalk. It's just funny to see them in spring.
This scene (even more extreme right now because of the AIG scandal) is a perfect mirror of the paradox of spring equinox. Spring is anything but balanced here in DC. It is tumultuous, veering leeward and windward from pleasant balmy days of sunlight and gentle breezes to dark, raw, windy days of bitter rain. The barometric pressure, humidity, temperature, and wind are all over the place. It's hard to know how to dress for every possibility. You might be freezing, you might be sweating, who knows?
Spring is the craziest season, which might be why it's legendary for creating moodiness in our species. We humans are cheerful and optimistic one day, lethargic the next, then restless, impatient, argumentative. But an hour later we're calm and replete - no problem! Then we're giggling, then crying. Our spring holidays also reflect the paradox, being as they are about terrible suffering followed by redemption.
In the midst of all the spring sturm und drang there is one moment when day and night are balanced. That's today, Spring Equinox. It's the only moment of balance in spring, so I guess I'm going to embrace the moment if possible, yes? I'll try.