Bradford pear tree in bloom

A Bradford pear tree opens its blooms to the spring sky outside the Lawton Chamber of Commerce.

Welcome back, spring.

Sure, that’s not big news. It happens every year. But when we think about where we were this time last year, it seems we got cheated. Last year, as spring dawned, government officials were telling us stay home, don’t go to work, don’t shop in stores, don’t go to the park, to the lake, play golf, go boating, go fishing and for heaven’s sake don’t go on vacation or see your family if they don’t live with you. You’ve probably never washed your hands so much, or been told not to touch your face ad infinitum. And, if you’re like us, if you never hear the terms “social distancing”, “abundance of caution” or “flatten the curve” again, you’ll probably be as happy as we are.

What a difference a year makes.

Friday’s edition of The Constitution headlined the return of the Prince of Peace Easter Pageant. The Mattie Beal Home is set to reopen April 1. Other, soon-to-be held events include rattlesnake festivals in Mangum and Apache, the April Fools Mountain Bike Fest in Medicine Park, the Mountain Metro AMBUCS Trykes n Tread Car Show, dedication of the first bench for the women’s suffrage monument in Shepler Park (still debate whether it will be live or digital), the Friends of the Library annual book sale, and a Bird Migration Tour. All that is just in April.

Looking to May, we’re seeing Lawton’s Trash Off, the Walk to Remember and Cache’s Summer in the Streets. Freedom Fest and Armed Forces Day events are also on the agenda after being dark last year.

We missed a lot.

We understand that people are still getting vaccinated, the mask-wearing debate is ongoing, the city has rescinded the requirement to wear masks (though if you visit them in city hall, you’ll still be asked to wear one), and there are still a few events that aren’t going to happen.

But, still, we’re encouraged.

“Cabin fever” is something generally thought of in the dark of winter. Our most recent bout with that condition lasted more than half a year. And in today’s work environment, we’ve added a new malady: Zoom fatigue. If you’ve spent an inordinate amount of time in computer-generated conference rooms, you know what we mean.

So, we’re seeing spring’s arrival with a greater-than-normal sense of joy and anticipation. We’re ready to hit the lake, the links, the campground, tennis court and our favorite restaurant and store in a way that’s a little closer to “normal”. Yes, we know we’re not there yet, but we’re so much better than we were a year ago. And that’s great news.

So, welcome, spring. We’ve missed you.

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