A False Spring

How about this weather? I’m not one to wish winter away, but I miss admit that I sucked my teeth in disbelief Wednesday morning when I looked out the sliding glass door to my snow dusted deck. Are you kidding me? I think Spring 2020 has felt exceptionally pokey in arriving and I’m convinced it’s because our winter, which began in November with an epic snowfall, was ultimately insipid and lacking in drama, weather-wise. It’s just been a slog of consistent grey that I find to be exhausting.

During this time of social distancing and isolation it isn’t easy to stay motivated or seek new challenges. I mean, how much can one really do to push the boundaries of comfort when limited to the confines of one’s home? Luckily, libraries are still open for business and continue to provide opportunities for those interested in expanding their repertoire of experiences.

Wednesday, in honor of Earth Day, the Albany Public Library Association and Albany Poets organized an online reading marathon and I signed up to participate. The online form asked for readers to indicate what they planned to share and my immediate impulse was an excerpt from Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. It’s my favorite of his books and I have reread it many times over the years, each time extracting new messages and insights.

As the day of the event drew closer, I began to grow nervous. Seeing the selections others were reading made me doubt my choice. There was no message about the environment or activism in the work I had chosen. Had I picked the wrong thing to read? Should I try to find something else?

I reread the chapter, “A False Spring,” I intended to share and decided it would work. My reading might not be directly related to Earth Day, but it did provide a much needed escape to a world gone by, the Paris of the 1920s. I recommitted to my selection.

When was the last time you did something that scared you? In public? I can answer that question without hesitation – yesterday. As my scheduled time approached, I became increasingly nervous. What if the technology failed? Why had I selected a piece with so many damn French words? Would my choice of reading material be understood? Was it too damn long?

If you’re interested to see how things went, check out the YouTube link. You’ll find me at about 9:23 on the video. Despite not having the camera angle quite right, I’m satisfied with my effort. I did not embarrass myself and that’s a victory!

 There were some awesome readers (Notorious South Troy poet, Mary Panza, Albany’s Mayor Sheehan, Albany Public Library Trustee Karen Strong, Common Council representative Ginnie Farrell, local booster Elissa Kane, UAlbany adjunct professor Susan Pedo…) whom I am proud to consider friends and it was wonderful to invite them into my home to share words which they found important.

Let the opening sentence inspire and challenge you to seek happiness wherever you might find yourself.

When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest.

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