Hope springs eternal

Seeing spring in bloom on campus in April this year was more welcome than ever given what we have been through. (Photo by Keith Nordstrom)

I grew up in Alabama. It has been decades since I lived there, but I only recall three seasons—really hot, hot and less hot (which meant we got excited to put on a sweater, maybe). I didn’t have the opportunity to experience the beauty of the changing seasons until I moved to New England.

While I prefer it so hot that steam rises from the sidewalk versus so cold that I have to navigate the ice in my Massachusetts driveway during winter, I do love the pretty fall leaves and the fresh flower buds making their debut yet again each spring. Both fall and spring urge us to be grateful for the moment while preparing for what is to come.

Spring is my favorite because no matter how gloomy the winter is, spring always arrives with such joy and promise—bursting with pinks, lavenders and yellows, reminding us of the resiliency of nature, of life really. And, after the pandemic year we have had, spring is more beautiful than I have ever seen it.

There are constant cycles of harshness and hope that we go through—seasons of loss that eventually lead to renewal and restoration. We can’t control the nature of things, but we can control what we notice and appreciate, including our own resourcefulness and resilience in any season. I think this awareness is the key to truly living.

This issue of the magazine has some loss as well as hope. We pay tribute to President Emerita Dale Rogers Marshall, whom we lost in January, on Page 28. Our cover story shows the promising future we have in the hands of our resourceful professors, students, recent graduates and staff who last summer began collaborating virtually on wide-ranging research analyzing and growing the knowledge about COVID-19.

Throughout the magazine, there are other stories that showcase the resilience of our community as we create solutions together for carrying on in the face of big challenges.

Hopefully, spring finds you well. Enjoy it.