From Point No Point to Deception Pass: A season for optimism

April is a month for delight. For celebration. The sun is returning to our northerly isle. The gray skies and brown of the landscape are giving way to blue skies and green foliage. Birds are returning from the warm south. Nature is reborn.

The Christians celebrate Easter, the Muslims Ramadan, the Jews Purim and the Pagans Eostar. I have no doubt that Animists, Buddhists, Atheists, Zoroastrians, Jains, Bahais and Agnostics all have their own ways of celebrating the arrival of spring as well. The Quakers that I rub elbows with on the island deliberately go out of their way to ignore the holidays of their religious brethren, declaring that every day is holy, so how can one single a day out? Which, to my mind, is just their usual way of being contrary and a bit eccentric, when, of course, their spirits rise and their blood quickens at the sounds of nature and of their neighbors celebrating the season.

This is the time of year when even someone like myself, afflicted with some of the Slavic propensity for gloom in the best of times, becomes an optimist. Just yesterday I was arguing with a friend, telling him that life is a blessing and a gift, with only an occasional exception. Most creatures, most people, likely most plants as well, are having a good time. I tried to do the math for him. The people suffering a war or a famine on our earth at the moment certainly need our compassion, concern and whatever help we can give. However, their misery is not shared by the vast majority of us. You see, we are the many, they the few, if you do the math. They number in the tens of millions of people, maybe a hundred million, if taken as a whole, but we are nearly eight billion all told. There is a lot of joy being had out there at any given moment.

All the same, I admit to a natural inclination to take the burdens of the world on my shoulders. I am a constant worrier, who often wears a weary frown on behalf of the threatened whales, the trans kids, the polluted ocean or the overheated city landscape. Yet, even I have trouble remaining completely sober this time of year. I get a bit tipsy just seeing the young frolic, hearing their joy played out in song and dance here in Langley. Smelling the fresh spring breezes off our ever changing ocean. Or delighting in a sunrise over the snow covered mountains that surround us here on our island in the Salish Sea.

Simple pleasures abound at this time of year. The plant nurseries are crowded with throngs of shoppers out to beautify their little portion of eden. I have already planted peas, chard, kale and potatoes in my leased garden plot at the South Whidbey Tilth green commons at Thompson Road. It won’t be long before the kids and the dogs and the grandpas and grandmas and the musicians and food vendors and plant vendors and crafts folk will all throng to the site for the first farmers market of the year.

I spent some of the gray, cold overcast days of March composing serious, gloomy essays to choose among for posting in this newspaper for the month of April. I plotted out stories about the serious responsibilities one takes on with gun ownership, pet ownership, earth ownership, childrearing and etc.

I came within days of posting a gloomy essay about my overblown concern that at least one of our major candidates for the presidency is showing clear signs of dementia. It honestly worries me that he rants on about the need for bloodbaths, exterminating vermin, people not people, while talking about hordes of the unwashed arriving at our shores and borders. He screams about rigged elections that got him unelected and crooked judges in the pay of the deep state that are conspiring to railroad him into prison. All of it is delusional at best, and deceitful lies meant to appeal to his devoted followers, who will need to send hoards of cash to pay his mountain of legal fees, at worst. I, much like a legion of talk show hosts and TV and newspaper commentators, can easily go on and on about his incredible array of crimes and sins worthy of Dante’s tour of hell.

So instead let’s celebrate at this time along with our kind of goofy, smiling old uncle Joe president and his family, enjoyed, no doubt, the annual Easter egg hunt. Tomorrow again, we can get serious, hold the president’s feet to the fire over his neglect of the needs of the innocent of Gaza. But today, let’s just celebrate the season and laugh along with the former president’s MAGA supporters at the crazy antics of their favorite politician. One song in particular comes to mind. Any of you know the old Roger Miller song? “Everybody loves a nut, the whole world loves a weirdo … so if you’re deranged don’t change, cause everybody loves a nut.” ‘Tis the season for song.

Dr. Michael Seraphinoff is a Whidbey Island resident, a former professor at Skagit Valley College and academic consultant to the International Baccalaureate Organization.