One swallow does not a spring make.
* * *
I knew little about Ukraine before Putin invaded it. Now I know a lot.
I know the eventual Russian Empire began when Viking Prince Oleg established Kyiv as capital for the Rus people in the ninth century. I know it was once independent and then not. I know that between the world wars Russia, Poland, Romania, and Czechoslovakia carved it up. I know that a plebiscite resoundingly supported its declaration of independence in 1991. I know Putin has harassed it ever since.
I know its current president was previously a comic actor in Servant of the People, a television show in which his character improbably became president. I know he competed in Ukraine’s Dancing with the Stars—and won—while cavorting, blindfolded, in hot pink, fringed bell-bottoms.
I know he formed a Servant of the People political party. I know he ran for president as an outsider against the corrupt oligarch Petro Poroshenko in 2019. I know he won.
I thought it was a joke. After all, two years earlier the United States elected a television celebrity. A clown. So why not Ukraine?
I was wrong.
Volodymyr Zelensky is no joke. He’s 44 years old. He stands 5’7″ tall. He’s fluent in Russian and Ukrainian. He’s Jewish. He knows what evil authoritarians do.
Zelensky is nobody’s fool.
Today is the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere and that includes Ukraine. Here comes the sun. Days grow longer. Nights shorter.
Resurrection has begun. Daffodils bloom. Worms squirm. Swallows wing northward.
But then …
One swallow does not a spring make.
Still, one is enough to give us hope. Spring is on its way. It’s how the natural world works.
But the natural world is not the only world.
In Ukraine darkness is not receding. Nights are longer.
Light may yet triumph over darkness in that land. We don’t know. It all depends. It depends on people—Ukrainians mostly. But it depends on others as well.
And it depends on Ukraine’s leader.
And that improbable leader is blossoming before our eyes. He stands tall. He walks the streets. He rallies his people.
I am here. We will not lay down any weapons. We will defend our state because our weapons are our truth.
Volodymyr Zelensky is a hero.
One hero does not a victory make.
But one is enough to give us hope.
* * *
Leadership matters. Courage matters. Character and integrity matter. Every day.
It is both fascinating and horrible to watch the events unfold in the Ukraine and Europe. Putin is learning that most of us have had it with war as a solution to anything, but his agenda is all ego expansion and power. It reminds me of Shelley’s poem “Ozymandias”, where:
“…on the sand , half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown, and wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, tell it well….and on the pedestal, these words appear: My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair! Nothing beside remains. Round the decay of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away.”
Learning so much as well. Agree with Stewart. Ukraine leadership and resilience is indeed a model of new democracy. I like to think that the USA has “secret”/covert strategies, spies, etc in action to help UK, rid Putin, and create a happy ending. After all, leadership alone cannot win a war..
Yes, and Yes!!
The rainbow last nite was another sign of hope… The sky was a dark gray; the sycamore trees were gleaming white, their branches reaching skyward against the darkness; and the rainbow in full view for a full half hour on our way home. It reminded me of the Ukrainian people & their amazing leader pitched against the darkness.
Hope, and Spring – eternally… the wheel turns🌈🌼
I share Christine’s hope that the US is doing something behind the scenes – something more than just sending weapons. I know that caution is absolutely necessary in this situation: still, it’s so frustrating to hear/read the news and not be able to do much in the way of direct action.
I had hope until today when I read of the Russian Orthodox patriarch supporting Putin because of the need to repel Western “Gay Pride” values. And of course, with all those gilded robes, incense, bells and all, God MUST be on his side!
It’s hard NOT to hope, but it’s scary to hope, too.
I think I need to watch or read Lord of the Rings again.
Is Zelinskyy Frodo? This power thing is so demonic.
Volodymyr Zelensky is a hero. And how refreshing he is, how direct, how real and free of B.S.
Maybe his kind will take courage by his example and slowly rise up and slip into leadership spaces. Thank you Randy for this history and this portrait. Also thank you for the Beatles, “Here Comes the Sun”. So lovely to hear George Harrison’s voice (I think he’s singing lead on this song), also his guitar and the Beatles unsurpassable arrangement and harmonies.