Something is different. I don’t know exactly what it is, but there is a familiarity around me that I haven’t felt in a very, very long time. The wind is blowing gusty but the temperature is warm and there is sun filtering through the low clouds. The snow has melted enough to see the brown leaves that were left behind last fall and the spring cleanup to-do list starts, unprompted, in the back of my mind. But that is not it.
It is me, in my car, alone, running to and from our Synagogue, where my kids (and husband) are in person for the first time in almost two years. It is me, in my car, alone, picking up a quick cup of coffee and a bagel, freshly baked and deliciously over priced. It is me, in my car, alone, singing to the perfectly chosen playlist for this morning’s Blue Moon Cafe on TK99, shocked that I know almost all the lyrics to every song coming at me and lost, occasionally, in the memories associated with a particular guitar riff, drum solo or harmonic chorus.
There is a hope that floats on the warm winds, bringing with it an energy that is permeating through my bones. Arriving at the Shul, the parking lot is full; the greeters are in place (as is the plain-clothed officer, Tom, a constant reminder that the world is full of hate and evil) and there is the buzz of low conversations from kids and adults. I keep hearing the same words with slight variations. There are hugs and smiling eyes as we all move through the well-known motions of our Sunday School arrival.
There is a strange comfort sitting in our Synagogue’s library with a few other parents, buried deep in my laptop and quietly sipping my now-lukewarm coffee. I am likely the only one writing about us, but I am certain that we are all thinking about the newness of this rhythm that has taken us out of our homes and back into this space. In many ways we are the embodiment of Spring, coming out from our winter hibernation that has lasted for the better part of the past two years.
The Before Times don’t seem so far away right now and I stop to entertain the fantasy of longer days and communal living, once again. I know that the forecast calls for a return to winter, a cold front barreling its way down from Canada. I know that there is always the possibility of a surge or a new variant or a new virus altogether. I am smart enough to know that this fake spring will be replaced with colder, blustery days…but I am hoping that our reemergence from the dark will stay. For now, I will go out without my jacket, greet my friends, embrace one another and appreciate the smiles that have been dormant for far too long.