By Candy Venning
Was it the buzzing bees, the wind sighing across branches, the birds you had never seen before or the tide lapping in the bay? Perhaps the simple act of working with your hands in the soil, coaxing plants to thrive or the meditative rhythm of walking through the woods, using all your senses, breathing deeply, allowed you to release stress and fear.
When I observed anything ‘other’, plant or animal alike, I realized none of these creatures gave a fig about Covid. The trees allowed quiet release from the conversations about Covid, the butterflies hadn’t followed the latest media coverage, and flowers weren’t concerned about lockdowns. For me, the observation of everything else on the planet doing its own thing gave tremendous relief from the strain of the mental somersaults the pandemic caused.
The dividing of families, the separation from loved ones in stressful times seems inordinately cruel and yet we humans sometimes dwell on loneliness that may not need to be so severe. What if we decide to interact with the other creatures that live with us on the fine earth?
The idea isn’t so odd; anyone who shares their home with a beloved pet can speak to the joy and shared comfort, yes, even though we’re different species. Who’s to say the trees can’t be greeted each morning, the birds thanked for their song, the squirrels cheered on as they deftly perform high wire acts worthy of any circus, that we cannot jostle up against the gossiping hydrangeas?
Perhaps you don’t quite want to go back to ‘normal’ or as many say with a wink ‘the before times’. After all, whats wrong with carving out time to read, to garden, to walk, to bake bread, to talk to the houseplants?
Although I’m trying to find a silver lining, in the worst cases, lives have been lost, everyone’s routine was disrupted by a series of mental & financial somersaults, created by a never before experienced, invisible, worldwide foe
our routines turning upside down and inside out may, in the very best case scenario, force us to ask how, moving forward, we wish things to go back together again.
Much like the Japanese art of joining broken pottery pieces together with gold, ‘Kintsugi’ is the idea that in embracing flaws and imperfections, you can bring forth an even stronger, more beautiful creation.
It is my hope that small acts such as growing veggies, taking prescribed walks along wooded trails and observing our place in the natural world might give us strength and understanding to deal with larger issues as we piece the world together again.
And finally, as we move towards winter, shorter days, longer sleeps, let’s remember to keep going for walks, enjoy the lovely winter birds for company and know the woods are only sleeping in their blankets of snow.
Featured image of Hamilton Rail Trail compliments of Marie Mushing