There’s a lilt in the air. Lift up your mask and breathe in deeply the first hint of freedom. Use your senses to identify a long-awaited promise.

See the fresh colors. Mornings find orange breasted robins hopping across the lawn to gather brown brush and build new nests. Cardinals with black masks flash their showy red bodies as they dash above us. Listen. Birdsongs fill the air.

Is it time? Traffic noises, too, hum their songs of resurgence. Like sprinters awaiting the starting gunshot, we leap to rejoin the human race. Thirteen long months of isolation make us keenly aware of all we’ve sacrificed in embraces, endings, and elders. Hens are lightly molting, shedding the wintry, dismal feathers in favor of new spring plumage. We follow their lead with fresh outfits. We courageously step forth. No longer shuddering with worry, we anticipate a reawakening. Rake the lawns and await the green.

We cuddle hope like a newborn babe, swaddling it close to our beating hearts. Our eyes witness expanding light. Our survival promises continued aging. No longer cocooned, we mirror movements around us. The surf is dancing, pink petunias are swaying, and airwaves are tolling victory.

Golden sunlight tints each day as arms are offered for shots of one of three vaccines. As scientists regain their voice of authority, we the people shall return to fulfill lives. Only Johnson & Johnson’s clotting defies its one-shot promise.

We renew the search for community. Hugs are the new currency. Open your arms wide and encircle hope. One future day we shall embrace the world. As yellow daffodils open their throats to spring rains, can we allow ourselves to celebrate? A big black raven silently circles overhead; the ancient symbol of death reminds us it casts a long 2020 shadow. Ghosts of the pandemic whisper to us, “You must not celebrate victory yet.” A bobolink at dusk in June with his melancholy tune will chide us, “Never forget.”

As we go down on bended knee to thank the universal healer, we continue our pleading for other continents of humanity. Abroad, the evil virus is swirling like a whirling dervish.

Another battle emerges. Many fellow citizens cannot comply. Skeptics abound. Help them succumb to the cool, fresh shot of this miracle, we beg. We wait for skeptics to hear critical data to be convinced. Who can convert them?

Until this other war is won, until the herd is immunized, breathe and believe in the promise. Join our conspiracy of hope.

— Special to the Telegram

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