Do you ever stop and notice the first buds of spring?
It happened to me a few weeks ago. I arrived early at the Pocahontas Landmark Center to cover a meeting of the Powhatan County School Board. It was one of those truly gorgeous days before Second Winter arrived, so in the roughly 20 minutes before the meeting started, I just walked along the sidewalk outside of the building.
On this walk, I noticed a tree with new growth in a beautiful shade of red. I leaned in for a closer look and smiled at the sign of new growth. It was a simple moment, but a reason to smile is never wasted.
I have been thinking about that moment in the last few weeks because it felt like we as a society are experiencing that moment. After a long winter, we are getting the chance to come out and bloom a little.
It started when I got information from the Powhatan County Cooperative Extension about all of the great 4-H clubs and programs they are planning for the spring. The roster of programs coming up in the next few months will see children exploring nature, art, archery, animal science, horse care, shooting, and more. So many learning opportunities and chances to socialize have been lost in the past year, so it is great to see them coming back.
The library reopened on March 15. I have never made it any secret that I am a strong supporter of the library and its role in the community. It is not back to its full capability – the meeting rooms, which are such a great resource, are still closed – but everything they felt they could safely bring back they did. Just the act of being able to go in and browse the shelves or sit at a table and do a little work is such a small pleasure, but one I will not take for granted again.
It was cool to help put out information about advances being made for both our youngest and oldest students in this week’s edition. Kindergarten registration is back to being in-person, which is awesome. I love attending this rite of passage every year to take photos. It still amazed me when a school staff member reached out with the information to see information for the Class of 2034. I know exactly what year it is – the one that followed the Year That Shall Not Be Named – but that doesn’t stop me from seeing references to 2034 and thinking about science fiction movies about dystopian futures.
There also was great news for Powhatan High School seniors. The governor announced on March 17 that graduations will be allowed to return this spring, albeit in a modified manner. Superintendent Eric Jones said the division and high school staff had already been working on different scenarios on how to make graduation possible for the Class of 2021, and the guidance from the state gave a few viable options they will be pursuing.
Let’s not kid ourselves – we’re not where we want to be yet. It would be way easier to fill this space with all the things that are frustrating and just plain hurting us than it is to look for a few rays of hope. I fully admit our way of life is nowhere near what it was before COVID-19 or what we hope it will be someday soon.
But you have to start somewhere, and I am hoping these tiny buds of normal life will soon blossom into a full array that brings us back together as a community. And so I’ll smile, and it still isn’t a wasted effort.