“It’s April, fool.”

With the pandemic waning ever so slightly, the calendar has become unstuck. As life crawls out of the 2020 quagmire, signs of hope abound. Just look around. It’s already April. Spring is no longer just around the corner, it’s standing right in front of us. The sun is shining like a flashlight into our blind little mole eyes that haven’t seen the light of day for a long, long time.

Hope really does spring eternal. There are signs everywhere you look. Not only has nicer weather returned, but people have returned as well. And they look happy even behind their cumbersome masks. Commuters have rediscovered the joy of being stuck in traffic again. For a long time, a rush hour commute was barely a blip on the traffic radar. The highways were a ghost town with half the people working from home and the other half not working at all. Now there’s traffic in the square again and it’s not just from the latest construction project, although I’m sure that adds to it. Bumper to bumper traffic is the first sign that things are returning to the “old normal”. Complaining about traffic is another good sign. ­

Last year, I was able to go bicycling most days and not encounter another vehicle on the road. This year, I’m definitely wearing my helmet. Now that more people are out and about, cars are everywhere. Sadly, not all of them obey the rules of the road. I spent last spring cycling laps around the empty Stone Zoo parking lot. I had the place to myself. I could zig and zag through the parking lot cones without a worry in the world. I rode up to the entrance gate where I watched the animals enjoy their privacy while the pandemic kept everyone away except Zoo employees. Lately the parking lot is full of cars, and I’m searching for a new safe place to ride. I even have to press the walk light to cross Woodland Road. I’m not taking any chances on that stretch of highway. What a difference a year makes.

I’m going to miss my solitary nature walks through the Fells. A lot of people have discovered nature for the first time. Hikers are multiplying faster than mosquitoes at Spot Pond.

At home, the grass grows greener every day. It’s time to spend more time outside of the house. I’m getting my yard in shape (slowly). I’m waiting as long as I can to set up my screen house. I don’t want it collapsing from snow on the roof during a surprise April blizzard. In New England it wouldn’t really be a surprise.

It’s April. I can’t get used to saying that. All the things I put off last year are now overdue. I was going to spend the month of March spring cleaning in my spare time. Instead, I spent most days making list of things I should be doing. I don’t want to get stuck cleaning out my attic when temperatures are in the 80’s. Last year, I couldn’t get motivated. This year I have no excuse.

All the signs are pointing to a lessening of the pandemic. Restaurants are open with greater capacity. Going out for dinner is more enjoyable with other people filling the tables even if they are a safe distance apart. The lines at the supermarket are inside the store at checkout instead of outside the store where people used to be waiting in line just to enter the building.

Another positive sign, eager fans are going to be allowed back into stadiums with safety protocols in place. I’m not a baseball fan, but I’m excited about opening day at Fenway Park just for the joy of things getting back to normal. 

After I finish writing this column, I’m going to start rewriting my spring to-do list. I’ve got to rearrange priorities now that the season has changed once again. I can delete the winter projects I never got around to, or at least move them further down on the list. I have so much to do and I can’t use the pandemic as an excuse anymore (although you’ve got to admit it was the perfect excuse for not doing anything). 

It’s time to move forward. I’ve got a lot to do before the first day of summer. Painting, cleaning, refurbishing, renewing. Now that Spring has officially begun I’m not going to lose another chunk of time endlessly scrolling through social media or looking for things to watch on Netflix. I’m making a promise to myself to do something productive every day.

There are a million sayings about not letting time slip away. Time waits for no man. Time is fleeting. Never put off tomorrow what you can do today. I was on my front porch this morning when I saw the first robin of spring on my lawn. His bright red chest bobbed up and down in the new green grass as he foraged for grubs. I said to him, “It’s true. The early bird really does get the worm.”

He looked at me and cocked his head. As he flew off, he turned and said, “It’s April, fool.”

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