Vol. 11, No. 2,640 - The American Reporter - May 6, 2005

Hominy & Hash

by Constance Daley
American Reporter Correspondent
St. Simons Island, Ga.

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- This year, I thought I'd allow March to slip by without my writing a word about Spring ... but, apparently, it's not in my nature; you see, I love the word "harbinger." As words go, I could write precursor, forerunner, outrider or herald as easily as harbinger to announce that first robin on the lawn chirping "I'm b-a-a-c-k."

Spring is always a surprise, just as if we don't expect it. "Oh, look, there's a daffodil." We need confirmation that it's really here. And now, Spring is here! Everything dies in winter and if you're not looking for the harbingers of Spring, it's easy to be discouraged by the ravages of fall and winter. Everything else is dying, why not me? Look at that dreary face in my mirror. Oh, dear, my eyelashes are getting sparse. There's more hair coming off into my brush, my skin is flaking ... I'm a mess.

But that was last week. Today? My nails are longer and stronger. Hmmmm. Must be the vitamins. My eyelashes look good. Must be the new mascara. My hair looks brighter. Must be the new shampoo. Put it all together with the robin and the daffodil and voila!, the light bulb flashes: Spring really is here! How about that?

We focus on these phenomena of Spring as if we've discovered something all our own. We wrap ourselves in the wonder of it all, knowing for sure now that summer is coming after just having weathered one more season of things that die and our occasional moods of discontent. We watch the glorious rebirth of color with awe.

But this is not all ours ... this is not just a wonder visiting our own backyards. Yesterday, after hearing a brief mention of the celebration of Spring on a morning newscast, I smiled to myself. Ah, that's right, I thought, it's not only in my own backyard. Spring is all over. And it is a celebration; it's a gift to every creature on Earth who can see the moon in all its phases. We do know that but, somehow, when the news snippet referred to Iraqi Kurds celebrating Spring, I was surprised.

Perhaps the occasional celebration is what helps weather those times of discontent and seasons of things that die. Hope is closely allied with celebration; the Iraqi Kurds bring hope to the table and hard as I try to feel a solidarity with them in the rights of Spring, I only seem to feel ashamed. I feel guilty that my daffodil is pushing up in the verdant corner of a sun-filled yard. From what I've seen of the Iraqi Kurd reveler's grounds, they are gravely, sandy, rock-strewn, dry, hot, almost impossible to reach from the rest of the world, and, frankly, pretty miserable, by our standards ... although I'm not unmindful of pockets here in our own part of the world that could reflect it.

And still, they celebrate. Actually, we don't celebrate in the same sense at all. Yes, store windows feature Spring fashions; garden shops have their wares outdoors; Home Depot entices do-it-yourselfers to buy tools, mowers, paint, garden hoses, backyard charcoal grills, lounge chairs and hammocks. We do know it's Spring and that pleases us. Spring, though, is when we prepare for summer.

The closest we come to celebrating Spring, that moment falling within the 24-hour period around March 21st, the Spring equinox, would be Easter Sunday. The formula for determining this moveable feast is the first Sunday after the first full moon after March 21st. This date has been celebrated from pagan days right through and onto the Judeo/Christian calendar, with Islam accounted for as well, since the Arabs conquered the Kurds in the 7th Century and converted everyone there to Islam.

The moon does, indeed, belong to everyone and those of us sharing the planet all feel the pull, the ebb, the tide. Wherever we are, there comes Spring. We don't have to do a thing to promote it. We don't have to do a rain dance to bring April showers. It all just happens and we revel in the thought of it. This annual rebirth puts a Spring in our step, a smile on our faces and a greater willingness to say "Good Morning" to passersby who share our delight - we can see it in their faces.

There was a time when the world was bigger and, as if we saw through the magnifying end of the telescope we saw only what was close to us. Now, it's a small world and we can see the rest of the world through television lenses in full focus. With the Kurds, If the Spring harvest escapes the rampant destruction of their land then they will have ample grain, thus, food, for the remainder of the year.

Our harbingers of Spring seem so frivolous when you realize their harbingers are healthy crops - sustenance. We can live a long time without a robin or a daffodil ... after all, they merely garnish our overflowing plates. But the Iraqi Kurds, and millions worldwide like them, need grain to fill their plates at all.

I can talk of solidarity and I can commiserate with all whose lives are day-to-day adventures in staying alive. But I can't say "I feel your pain" with even a modicum of sincerity because in this small world there is a larger picture that I can't even begin to comprehend.

Copyright 2005 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.