Are There Tulips In Ukraine?

The Joys of Spring

Unless you have some sort of greenhouse, it’s hard to start plants from seed. I tried it when we lived in the country, but seeds are tricky. Things can go awry. And, as I learned the hard way, seedlings that appear viable for the outdoors can look delectable to Stellar’s Jays. True, there’s some satisfaction that comes from growing things from seed, but I produced more food if I let other get plants ready for the challenges of living outdoors.

Bulbs, on the other hand, offer a special delight to a gardener, especially, the bulbs that we plant in the fall. While spring is taking its own sweet time nudging winter away, bulbs are carefully sensing the gradual changes in the soil and light and air, then pushing aside some soil so that their green shoots become visible. They may even challenge some late winter snow. The result is that long before it’s comfortable for warm weather gardeners to start digging in the dirt, flowers appear. It’s a wonderful sight, and a wonderful reward for a little effort last fall.

Are There Tulips in Ukraine?

As I’ve thrilled to the sight of swelling tulip buds in my garden this year, I’ve also wondered if some tulips are breaking through the rubble in Ukraine. I wonder if there are people left to enjoy them. I wonder about everything regarding Ukraine. 

To date, Putin is unable to claim any sort of victory in Ukraine. For a few weeks I was worried that he would escalate from conventional forces to chemical or biological or nuclear weapons. He may yet, but I no longer worry about it. I am pleased that Ukrainians have managed to stall Russian forces. But I cannot imagine that the many horrid weapons humans have created will lie around unused forever. The MAD strategy of my youth (Mutually Assured Destruction) doesn’t apply to lesser nukes, so surely someone will try them out at some point in time. The only thing preventing their use today in Ukraine is that Putin has already obliterated so many buildings and so much land to no avail. What could he gain by obliterating them again? 

The Value of the War in Ukraine

If this war is to be of any value, I hope that it will lead the many critics of our society, left and right, those who think tearing it down is the only way to make things better, to reconsider. Surely watching Putin in action is enough to force us to acknowledge that the US is better than Russia. 

I have serious doubts about the wisdom of creating a government “of the people.” Could that actually work? Will we work our way out of the dysfunctional jam we’re in? I worry that our Constitution is vague in important areas such that we cannot rely on its words to keep us out of trouble. When we must rely on “norms” rather than specific language to guide us, politicians or judges, or “the people” who don’t respect norms can bring us down. 

Putin is the ultimate breaker of norms. As we watch the horror he is unleashing in Ukraine, can we simply agree that norms are not all bad? 

Colin Kaepernick

Remember Colin Kaepernick? He still wants to play in the NFL; he wants to come back after (presumably) being blacklisted by the entire league for kneeling during our national anthem. Teams, for better or worse, decided not to put fans in the position of needing to support or condemn this sort of political statement during games. Sports is not a big issue for me, but I can’t imagine every arena or stadium becoming the scene of battles between those for or against every issue of the day. Let sports be one place where people with diverse opinions can cheer for their team, just for a few hours, before sorting themselves again as they leave. 

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