I woke up this morning with a song of happiness in my heart, grateful again for the glorious sunshiny days of early March and the quality of the light piercing through the leafless trees. Indeed, during the last two weeks, as February transitioned into March, and New York State enjoyed the refreshing weather of a false spring, the outdoor world has been beckoning hard.
Last week, I spent a lot of time walking through Riverside Park on the upper West Side of Manhattan; the park presented a cornucopia of blossoming Lenten roses in an array of color from very light green to white to dusky rose. Looking skywards there was bright yellow witch hazels in bloom and one light pink flowering tree I could not identify. Back in North Salem this week, where we generally follow the New York City blossoming schedule by a week or two, the grass is greening up and there are clusters of snowdrops and early croci dotting the terrace lawn.
An air of burgeoning expectation is everywhere, with spring yearning to break the bonds of winter. After the last several long, cold winters, this respite is a relief; though the reality is that we may yet be treated to some chilly dips into winter weather, some hard freezes or snowstorms, as March transitions further towards spring. Or even, following the template of the last few years, weeks of cold, gray, windy and unwelcoming weather in late March and April. Once there is more light in the sky, and body and soul are attuned to the coming warmth, temperatures that would have seemed practically temperate in mid-January feel much harder to bear as winter gives way towards spring.
On the political front, I join with the many in the nation that are grateful Trump stepped up to the plate and finally gave a normative presidential performance during his address to a joint session of Congress. Indeed, not only was his appearance presidential, he knocked the ball out of the park, giving the political performance of his career. The change in tone, and the tutored performance, honed by a speech coach, was fully engaging. As Gallop reported, “One-Third of Speech Watchers More Confident in Trump”, with “6 in 10 rating the speech excellent or good.” He also seems to have curbed his Twitter usage of late, so there is less daily outrage pouring forth against him on regular and social media. As Scott Adams pointed out, the method of persuasion he used to deflate much of the criticism against him was to begin this formal address by speaking out very strongly against the recent spate of bomb threats against Jewish institutions. He made the exact opposite move than the one his critics had been forecasting. This left no room for the criticism that he was not wholeheartedly speaking out against these threats.
Following upon the speech, later in the week, a person allegedly responsible for at least eight of the recent threats (and possibly more), named Juan M. Thompson, was arrested. True to Trump’s prognostication in an earlier press conference that the anti-Semitic attacks might be a false flag, which met with so much criticism from the left, it turns out the suspect is a progressive journalist with a history of being fired from jobs because he fabricated interviews out of whole cloth. His Twitter motto is, “You show me a capitalist, and I’ll show you a bloodsucker.” This is not the profile that members of the left were anticipating as they continued to pin partial blame on these attacks on Trump for emboldening the “alt-right.”