On a late Spring day , just a year ago, I wandered to Boothbay to visit the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. I packed up my back pack with cameras and a bottle of water and went stalking birds and flowers. I did not pack a mask for my face. I did not check to be sure I had hand sanitizer available. I stopped on the way for gas, talking to people at the station, collected a hug from a friend passing by, shared a laugh. Talked to strangers, made new friends.
No one knew what we would be missing in one short year.
No one knew how hard it would become to find a place of peace within ourselves. Or how we would need to simply stop listening to the roar of the world in order to preserve some small core of self- that it would become that overwhelming.
We could never have dreamed that in one short time span we would see our neighbors dying by the thousands and our protectors betraying us We have seen justifiable rage boil over into the streets alongside entitled whining over small protective measures for our most vulnerable.
There are certainly freedoms we miss. Freedom to laugh out loud in public. Freedom to shake hands when meeting a new person. Freedom to drive down to Boston to see a show. Freedom to have there BE a show to see.
On the way home from work, I might have stopped at a Farmer’s Market to check for fresh vegetables. I miss variety- looking at apples of various types, thumping a cantelope, choosing from bunches of deep blue grapes. Salad bar? Not a favorite of mine but still, a choice we were free to make.
A walk though town, greeting friends and neighbors with a smile and a chat on the corner. Human interactions.
As we pass through this plague,don’t forget to pause and experience the happiness around you. It’s there. It was always there, we were just too busy being important to see it.
Be still for the sake of your own soul. Being still does not mean standing still. As you become more quiet, you can hear the natural world more clearly. You can hear the little brown bird singing that her eggs have hatched, You can hear the wind and feel it on your face. Be alone ,not lonely, and be kind to yourself. You are needed in this world.
Take a whole day, any day, and turn off your phone. Avoid the news, ignore the turmoil. . Listen to music or just the sound of the waves on the shore or your child laughing. As someone i loved more than air would say to me “ Just breathe.” Do it once a week, at least.-It will all be there when you return from your sabbatical with stillness
Wear a mask when you cannot be sure you are safely distanced. Take care of yourself and others and most of all be kind. And try to remember the little things we all took for granted.
Breathe, and take a walk with me to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens through these pictures.They have taken great steps and will open with careful restrictions in June 1. Make a reservation, Go and stalk a bird or a butterfly.