SPRING DOESN’T PAUSE
By LaVonne Roberts, short story writer, essayist and memoirist (US)
I just finished walking my dogs in Central Park North where everyone keeps their distance. Occasionally, a bicyclist wearing a mask and gloves whizzes past on the road above. I marvel that I can hear the sounds of the spokes turning. A masked woman is teaching Tai-chi with students all six feet apart on one of the green manses that the ducks have now claimed. It feels like I have the keys to the park. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude, then shame as I remember at what cost. Maybe it’s that I have no context for my feelings–to marvel at the beauty of spring amid an invisible contagion. It’s as if my eyes are at war with what my mind can’t process.
The sounds of honking cabs and the rush of pedestrians is gone. The sounds of ambulance sirens bounce off empty skyscrapers and echo through emptied streets of shuttered businesses. A young woman is standing on a rock, blowing air into her saxophone that elicits a wail just yards from a tented hospital housing patients fighting for oxygen. Drivers in delivery trucks are wearing gloves and masks. The sound of construction has halted and cranes that once punctuated the skyline are absent. The sky is heavy with contradiction—shards of light piercing charcoal and pewter clouds flood the park with bursts of warmth. It’s jarring to walk through the park where the rare sign of life looks like they’re prepped for surgery when the sprouting tulips and daffodils signal that spring doesn’t pause for anyone.