Spring isn’t here yet, only hints of change, but already the shift in seasons feels like it will be a shift in so much more. We are emerging from a year which has felt like an extended hibernation through a long and brutal winter. For me, the sense of unfolding started this week. My foot (which I broke at the end of 2020) is healing, and I took my first walk outside since then. I only went to the end of my block, but that walk re-introduced me to familiar friends: neighborhood gardens (wintery as they still are), my husband in sunlight (he came with me), our witch hazel tree’s first blooms, and me.
In the last two weeks I’ve also ridden in the car a couple times to run errands. Twice I found myself humming one of my favorite tunes, What a Wonderful World. I pulled it up on YouTube and listened to Louis Armstrong singing it, because he’s the one I hear in my head. It’s sappy, I know. Turns out, I’m sappy. Always have been. I just don’t work as hard to hide it anymore.
I found a particular video that has become my favorite. It was posted by RoundMidnightTV and includes an introduction to the song spoken by Louis Armstrong, or Pops as he was sometimes called. Here it is:
“Some of you young folks been saying to me
‘Hey Pops, what you mean “What a wonderful world”?
How about all them wars all over the place?
You call them wonderful?
And how about hunger and pollution?
That ain’t so wonderful either.’
Well how about listening to old Pops for a minute.
Seems to me, it ain’t the world that’s so bad
but what we’re doin’ to it.
And all I’m saying is see what a wonderful world
it would be if only we’d give it a chance.
Love, baby, love. That’s the secret, yeah.
If lots more of us loved each other
we’d solve lots more problems.
And then this world would be gasser.
That’s wha’ ol’ Pops keeps saying.”
—Louis Armstrong, introduction to What a Wonderful World, 1967
This feels a little heavy-handed perhaps, maybe too obvious, not literary or deeply poetic. But also genuine and true. Just what is needed on a day you feel the surprise of sun on your face and the anticipation of the world welcoming you back.