This year in the Northwest JanuaryFebruaryMarch dragged on through AprilMay and into June. This last week, however, is a different story. Usually there is some stately progression of flowers as spring arrives: crocus, daffodils, tulips, cherry trees, rhododendrons, iris. There are bits of green fuzz on the trees and then a week or so later, real leaves and two weeks after that, you can tell the difference between the new leaves and the old.
But spring was late in coming this year. The rain kept coming. The wind blew. It was ugly. Nasty. Depressing. Finally, we had a day over 60 degrees, the first one since last fall. At last! The t-shirts came out, and the shorts, never mind that the temperatures immediately went back to the low 50s. But in the last ten days, the gardens are lush with flowers, the bare tree branches now arch and meet across the streets with a riot of leaves gladhanding. It is light until nine in the evening and then some. Weekends are observed by the weed-whacking of lawns because even the best mowers can't handle the grass when it's over a foot tall.
And in the jail, how do you know the difference between May and June? Inside the concrete towers with only tiny windows and no fresh air, how do you tell?
In the chaplains' office, we can tell the difference by the requests that we get. In May we are flooded with requests for Mother's Day cards: for my mom, my girlfriend, my baby's mom, my other baby's mom... As quickly as the supplies come in, they go out.
In June, there are only a handful of requests for Father's Day cards. Someone somewhere has already written about the general lack of fathers in the lives of those incarcerated. I am thankful for the heartfelt desire for the men here who want to do it differently, to be a different kind of father than what they had. They imagine more for themselves and for their children, by the grace of God.