img_0867The world sounds livelier, younger, awake. The snow geese are headed here on their way to Canada’s northern tundra for nesting. Spring is breaking through Vermont’s winter-lite.

It’s happening in Kabul too where the winter was severe. Yes, due to snowfall the power was off from morning till night yesterday where my friend lives, but it is not as cold, not as dark, and warmer weather is expected this week.

An American leaves his barracks after midnight, bursts into several Afghan homes and  kills 16 people in cold blood. It’s hard not to think of this as a sick reaction to the Afghan demand that NATO cease its night raids. In the wake of the Quran burning and the subsequent death of 30 Afghans in the protests, it’s not impossible. The unimaginable happens in war.

We dread the news, my friend and I. We talk of Nowruz (New Day), spring’s official arrival March 21 and the beginning of the new year. Traditions among Afghanistan’s peoples vary, but house-cleaning, making/buying of new clothes for the whole family, preparing or buying special foods, and visiting family and friends are common. More importantly, it is time to for making peace, reconciling with relatives and neighbors, and starting fresh.

All of us recognize the arrival of spring and renew our relationship with the natural world to some degree. In the spirit of this awareness, let’s remember that countries too go through cycles. This is not the first time that Afghan-American relations have been on the rocks, and it will not be the last. That’s doesn’t mean they will always be so. Change is in the air.