A Different Spring

Posted by Deborah McBain on April 13, 2020
Spoiler Alert: This post discusses events in Season 9 Episode 3.
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Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author.

Episode 3 starts with the narrator reflecting on how spring comes differently in the city. She points out that those within the urban environment must look a little closer to see the awakening of life through the cracks in cement or beyond brick walls. I, in turn, reflect on how different the spring has come everywhere in 2020 as the result of pandemic conditions.

In the metropolitan Detroit area, we are now near the peak of the disease curve. The reality of the crisis deepens and feels more personal with reports of deaths including those of health care workers employed where I retired a few short years ago. As human activity is encouraged to slow down, stop and modify, news of illness, fear, anger floods the information highways.

This year, my extended family’s traditional Spring celebrations are not to be. But we are becoming adept at group video meetings. I am not feeling despair, but the novelty of all of this has worn off. I crave to celebrate the emerging sun with hugs, traditions and more personal communion with family and friends.

When I’ve had my fill of Facebook rants, and become overwhelmed with my attempts to organize my piles of household stuff, I find myself staring out the window. My suburban home, just outside of Detroit affords me a backyard patch of grass and a small garden.

My husband keeps birdfeeders hung and filled. As I look into our backyard, I begin to notice Spring’s busy hub of activity. There is no need for social distancing among our feathered and furred friends. Sparrows, cardinals, blue jays, various species of woodpeckers and more, all perch together. Birds swirl to and from the feeder. They also carry twigs back and forth, making new nests in the trees. The goldfinches are shedding their winter gray and show bright yellow feathers once again. Robins bob along the lawn together feasting on emerging earthworms.

Squirrels take their turn jumping on the feeders, dropping seed to the ground, as they swing frantically upside down. Below them, we have cottontail rabbits and chipmunks bounding across the driveway to share in the feast that drops from the feeders.

All through the garden the daffodils, crocus, snowdrops and bright blue squill are blooming. The tulips are getting tall and fat with buds ready to burst open. The grass is greening and there are buds on the lilacs. The natural world outside my window is alive, busy, active and oblivious to the drama that seems to consume the human race. Nature is undeterred and continues to congregate, cluster and collect.

It’s time for a new start. During this week’s Call the Midwife episode, the originally cantankerous Connie Blair and midwife Lucile Anderson find a bond in their common crisis and warmly reboot their feelings for each other. Now the nurture of nature causes me to also look afresh at my own feelings. Like the husband of the woman with the vaginal fissure, I can view the current condition as a result of “unwellness” in the human world. There is no verdict for dirty.

As this episode closes with the narrator expressing the sentiment: “Nothing is ever beyond repair…” I recognize how nature continues to alter, repair and renew. I am comforted and cheered by Spring’s alterations. I pause to take comfort and inspiration in the flashy new show outside my window. The new can seem as breathtaking as Trixie’s mini skirt. Yes, Spring is altered and different this year for humans, but nature goes about her business as usual.

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About the Author

Deborah McBain is a former certified nurse-midwife and practiced full-scope midwifery in Metro Detroit for 20 years. For 23 years before her midwifery career she practiced as an RN in medical/surgical, obstetrical and neonatology units. During her career, in addition to her midwifery practice, she taught childbirth education, led menopause support groups and mentored nursing, midwifery and medical students and residents.