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Image Credit: 

The Tyger, by William Blake, detail of a plate illustrated and printed by the author, collected in Songs of Experience, printed c. 1794 (William Blake Archive)

Society & Culture

The Tiger, the Lion, and the Old Man

A day like today reminds you of how you got here, of the struggle, of the good in your life—and of a tiger, a lion, and an old man.

The sun shines stark white, shimmering in a way that reminds you that it is a star, technically a yellow dwarf, but it seems not so yellow, and not so dwarfish to me on this March day. The sky looks pale blue, washed out along the edges of the horizon as if spring were struggling to reassert itself, though I well know that in this part of the world the first half of the month often brings a last spasm of winter’s recurring death. The soothsayer told Caesar to beware the Ides of March, but I always look forward to them, weary of the dank drabness of winter.

The waxy, dark green leaves of a magnolia suggest the magnificent white blooms that will soon reside in those thick limbs. Sprigs of the weeds we must fight off each spring are making their initial appearance, taunting us as we fight a battle that seems never-ending. Yet we know that the new grass will eventually push through the old and it will win, as it does each year.

At least the greenness means life, and that is reassuring.

A dog sits sunning himself in the near-70-degree temperatures, thanking the sun for coming back, for emerging again and defeating the dark that had enveloped us in a freezing cold blanket called the “polar vortex.” We humans, however, know better than to grow sanguine regarding our prospects. The...

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