I focus my binoculars on a brilliant male cardinal — its scarlet body, the black around its bill, its distinguished crest, its elegant, slowly flicking tail. I am struck by its beauty against the white of snow and dark green of holly.
The longing to return to some idealized “normalcy” is palpable following years of a mismanaged and devastating pandemic, along with the growth of violent white supremacy ignored and then stoked by President Donald Trump.
In my yard, the golden-centered red camellias bloomed brightly in November. Cherry trees blossomed; roses bloomed. Such reawakening was surely a sign of hope as cars rode in circles, honking and waving signs at the defeat of Donald Trump and the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
It is eerily still, like the small town without birds or sounds in the opening fable of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”, as self-isolation sweeps across the nation, along with the corona virus. Big crowds and the incessant visibility of celebrities, sports figures, politicians and the powerful have ceased.
It is an early spring. It has been for some time. Spring this year, thanks to global warming, has been tentative, slowly opening in February, buds and small flowers peeking out a window cautiously, as if a sudden freeze could still nip them in the bud.
I have roamed the Eastern Shore many times with other memories stretching back to the time when Caryn and I, long involved with African American history and civil rights, were happy to find a lone historical marker about Frederick Douglass in St. Michaels.