In those preglobal warming days, winters were more intense and hung on a lot
longer than they do now. They came on cheerfully enough, with Thanksgiving,
the winter holidays, and the bright optimism of another New Years day. Snow
fell, a pure clean blanket of white that covered asphalt and concrete, old
newspapers and gumwrappers. The blanket of white was the great equalizer,
covering up the detritus of urban life, reminding us all that we were a part
of the greater natural world.
But cars and buses, and the boots of passers by soon turned the clean
whiteness into icy gray slush. The slush soon froze, covered up by more
clean whiteness turned gray, and finally, sooty black. January dragged on
to the interminable icy barrenness of February. All of the ponds in Lincoln
park were frozen; I had to suspend my quest for the great grandpa carp that
spit my hook at the shoreline on my first fishing trip to Lincoln park lake.
Life became a contest of endurance, a dreary trek through the icy black
streets, back and forth from the disinfectant-smelling prison of grammar
school. I wondered if winter would ever end.
And then came the song. I knew Harrison hadn't written it for me, but it
spoke to me, and my great beacon of hope. Well, not a beacon, exactly.
More like a beam. A sun beam:
Little darlings, it's been a long cold lonely winter
Little darlings, It seems like years since it's been clear
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun...
This bright ray of hope sustained me, through to the spring thaw, to that
magnificent gift of summer vacation, when I could get up every day before
six and catch a couple of dozen carp and wild goldfish before any other
urban fishermen were even awake.
Whenever I think of the song, I can still see the bright sun in the sky,
it's soul restoring rays gleaming off the reeds of Twin Island pond,
sparkling on the puddles that had just this morning appeared on on the ice.
And I hope George, that wherever you are in the sweet by and by, that you'll
always be able to see the sun.
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