Friday was the first day of spring – or so the calendar says. In sunny Florida it’s been spring for the last month. I’m not normally big on spring: the sign of high humidity and mid-90s around the corner. But this year I feel a bit different about it.
I don’t mean the weather has been different. It’s more of a mood thing. Nothing but doom and gloom is in the news. The economy is tanking, the planet is cooking, Cheryl is slowly recovering, and even our normally sunny Gov is starting to look a little worried (although, probably not about Cheryl). He’s asked state departments to freeze spending, and the legislature is asking them to submit proposals for reducing their budgets by up to twenty percent.
As a state employee who’s seen budgets fall steadily throughout his career, twenty sounds like an absurdly high number. Thing is, I don’t have a better idea. Not a politically realistic one anyway. We really need a do-over on Florida’s tax system. But with Republicans firmly in control of government (and to be fair, less money floating around over all to tax)… that’ll be the day ‘ole Rush shaves (what’s left of) his head and starts handing out flowers at the airport.
Folks losing their jobs in the private sector won’t have much sympathy for us, and I won’t blame them. I’m thankful for every paycheck I get these days. If it gets reduced, or my department gets smaller still, I’ll still be thankful. However, I worry what will happen when some of the folks losing their jobs need our services. Social safety nets are a lot less effective when they get big holes just as they’re needed most. It’s bad enough we’ve made them so loose to begin with.
Like every other year, bushes and trees are making up for the rest of the year with a rush of color and fragrance. Citrus blossoms are blooming in the back yard. The bushes lining the driveway at my office like a short fence have turned several varieties of red for the season.
I’m quite taken by it all. Who woulda thunk it? Maybe you woulda, but I wouldn’ta.
With all the gloom around, a little color has been refreshing.
I have an alternative hypothesis though, just in case there’s more to this change in perception than whimsical appretiation of superficial good in the world. Maybe my mind reached the point where it won’t bend anymore.