Spring

The temperature weirdly shoots up to 70 degrees. 70 degrees in Vermont in early April! For anyone who doesn’t live here, know that this warm, daffodil-growing weather makes our world a communally happy place.

While my daughter plays soccer, I take a walk, then spread out my work on a picnic table. Three geese fly overhead, making a honking racket. On the other side of a school building, I hear the kids laugh. Two dads roll up on bikes and stand in the parking lot, chatting.

Another parent I haven’t seen for a long time appears and stands at a distance. We talk and talk, about how our work has changed, and what’s happening with our kids, and even more, about each of us might want this summer — happiness, in some small way. Listening, I think, of all the many things we’ve learned this year, surely valuing the connection between us rises high. How little that might seem, and how infinitely valuable.

My daughter returns with a blister. At home, the carpenter has just finished repairing the porch railings broken by falling ice. We stand for a bit, talking and waving at early mosquitoes. He admires the view of the village below us and asks how I like living beside a cemetery. I like it just fine, I tell him.

Don’t talk to me about the stars, about how cold and indifferent they are, about the unimaginable distances. There are millions of stars within us that are just as far, and people like me sometimes burn up a whole life trying to reach them.

— Ted Kooser