It is the season of unfurling leaves. It is the time when eagles circle back to their aeries and the red tailed hawks ride a thermal into the deepest of blues.I dust off old books and peruse albums that are brittle with age and yet still vibrant, redolent of earlier springs and distant adventures.
When I was young my grandmother, Fredericka, told me vivid stories of the deep south. We also read many books to one another. We explored an interesting blend of authors: Alcott, Austen, Bradbury, and numerous plays. She told me The Prisoner of Zenda, in its entirety, with bold gestures and mimed swordplay.The story of her own childhood in the Everglades somehow got woven together with the stories of Capote, Tennessee Williams, O’Neill. She was a keeper of old phrases and fiery sagas, of hard earned truths and heart-breaking realities. Fredericka often adjured me to remember that a brave man dies but once. She asserted that as long as one is drawing breath, there is hope.
These many years later, I am struck anew by the power and importance of such ideas. I’ve always known that the most quintessential part of my education came from my grandmother. Her words now seem oddly prescient and a reminder of humankind’s many troubled times.
I can still hear her emphatically stating that courage without conviction means nothing and conviction without courage goes nowhere.
Warmth seeps into the forest. Storms brew and spill their rivers into the thirsty earth. Our mistakes have been collective and cumulative: will we have the conviction to do better? Will we have the courage, even against the odds, to try?