By Tony Hooker
The Birds around me hopped and played
Their Thoughts I cannot measure
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure
The budding twigs spread out their fan
To catch the breezy air
And I must, do all I can
That there was pleasure there—William Wordsworth
Ah, the delicious irony that is living in Central Illinois. I’m writing these words while staring out the window at a drizzle that could become snowflakes with just a little downward nudge in the mercury,
two days after a walk in the park in 70 plus degree weather that inspired me to seek out the poetry of spring. In a way though, the dichotomy is wholly appropriate. As I walked and looked around, I saw the many sides of nature on full display. Over here, a tuft of fur from a rodent who lost its battle for survival so that a hawk or fox could live. There, the first early shoots of plants hesitantly poke their green heads above the surface of the earth, fighting for light with the leftover leaves of last fall.
On the water, geese are swimming in regal pairs, preparing to make their nests and welcome a new generation. That they’ve ventured onto this walking path in the past is quite apparent as well. Watch your step!
I’m not sure if I’m waxing poetic or just addled, but I think that those who live in areas of the world without true seasons are missing out. There is just something special about those early warm rays of sunlight touching our skin after the long, cold darkness of winter that has deprived us of its caress.
At any rate, by the time you read these words, spring will have arrived, and soon the farmers’ thoughts will turn to planting. Baseball and softball have already begun, and the kids were sure blessed with great weather for their opening contests of the season. Many have been the time when a few flakes fell during those early contests. The track-letes will soon move their seasons outdoors, after showing promise on the indoor circuit. It is my fervent wish that we can somehow resolve the issues surrounding our facility so that our school can host meets. Our coaches do a remarkable job of getting kids to buy into the program without the benefit of a true home base. Just think about how strong the program could become if we had a track to show off. There is no doubt that participation in track helps in all other sports, not only with speed, endurance and explosiveness, but also with coordination and mental preparation and toughness. It’s not a coincidence that the last VG teams to win the conference title in football also won in track and field and made the regional final in basketball. Track equals better athleticism, and better athleticism equals wins. As I’m sure we all are, I’m looking forward to the day when old man winter finally releases his tenuous grasp and warm weather comes to stay for a while.