They can’t cancel spring

They can’t cancel spring. Credit 82 year old David Hockney who included the thought with a couple of new pictures he sent to galleries. He’s on lockdown. But his spirit isn’t.

By David Stone

It’s May, 1957.

Spring greens up on time.

Eight years old, I cross the meadows, wheat ankle-high, with my brothers. Finally, we reach the summit where we see Route 17 snaking through the valley below. An unbroken chain of cars moves steadily into the Tuscarora foothills.

A rehearsal for disaster, Evac-12, sent hundreds from Binghamton’s 12th Ward to safer ground in Deposit, a tiny town on the border of Broome and Delaware Counties.

Evac-12, a discordant echo for COVID-19…

Because in 1957, we prepared for a disaster that did not come, an H-Bomb targeting a community rich with strategic industries. Although our leaders then bumbled us into a cold war, they at least prepared us for the hazards of their mistakes.

Over 60 years later, we’re not prepared at all for an even more predictable disaster, one that’s already on us. In Washington, the most powerful can’t even admit what’s happening.

But they can’t cancel spring, then or now…

Hockney, a brilliant, colorist painter, a man of passions, is right.

Failures of leadership can’t change who we are. As America lumbers along, zigzagging unpredictably, like a giant with brain damage seasoned by mental illness, the center, the people, holds.

This struck me on Sunday. Walking in Central Park, signs of spring everywhere…

Spring 2020 in Central Park, New York City
Central Park, New York City, March 22nd, 2020. Still civilized. Still undefeated.

We didn’t know, my brothers and me, but we’d see decades of springs passing. We’d have children and grandchildren.

We didn’t know, but we had faith. We’d have a future.

Although they can’t cancel spring, I’m not sure what the future looks like anymore. A lifelong optimist, I’m never disappointed.

So far.

Meanwhile, a leader-light country bungles along, risking lives. But a few leaders brave enough to tell us what we don’t want to hear, making us do what we don’t want to do, show the way.

New York, California, Illinois, Washington state… We will see spring sooner.

They can’t cancel spring, but the likes of Cuomo, Newsom, Pritzker and Inslee… These men may hasten its return.

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