It’s shaping up to be an emotionally charged and challenging week. Not just for me. For the world. Who could have imagined what is happening right now ? Even as I ask that question I know the answer. Science. The science community has been well aware of our inadequate planning and preparation and the potential for disaster should it ever happen. Watch this Ted Talk by Bill Gates in 2015. Our fear is not imaginary, nor is it an overreaction. This shit is real.
If you’re like me, you have experienced a whole range of emotions these past few weeks. It’s been a roller-coaster ride, arms up and hair on fire. I’ve moved from fear to confusion to anger to frustration. And that”s just listening to the president … But I’ve also been moved to tears by people I’ve never met.
Yesterday afternoon, waiting for me at the mailbox, was the most wonderful gift. Not the hiking gear I ordered or the binoculars. Not the journals I ordered, from not one but two different local businesses, but a real gift. A surprise.
I started this blog in 2016. I had done some writing on a different site before but never really kept up. I met someone that year that inspired me to pick it up again and commit to it. And so I did. I did the only thing one can do to begin: I started. I wrote about hiking and work and my RA. I let pour freely, my feelings about life and death and how it all was woven delicately into the fabric of my own life. The more I wrote, the better my writing became. The more consistent I was, the more reliable I became in every other part of my life. I was a writer because I was doing it.
I am a writer now because I keep at it. I have a book planned. I suppose for all of us, this becomes the ultimate goal. A story – typeset, covered and bound. I was supposed to have a workshop in May to help me understand what pool I was dipping my toe into. And to learn how to swim again. As of yesterday, it’s been canceled and I’m okay with that. Safety first. I’m in the November group now instead.
My birthday month.
It will be a gathering in late fall, after I’ve hiked as many miles as I can do in the mountains, after the leaves have fallen away and maybe after we’ve seen our first snowflakes. It’s the month when days are becoming noticeably shorter and the silence, longer. The distractions are minimal. And there will be journals filled with new stories of survival and heartbreak, resilience and joy. At Peerspirit you can read about these retreats and visit the blogs of the two founders, Christina and Ann. There is a whole lot of joy here. Treat yourself !
Speaking of that, back to the other joy piece. That gift that came in the mail …
Occasionally on my blog I’ll see a comment from someone I don’t know. They will reach out, I will reach back and that’s as simple as it is to make a connection. I met my yoga teacher through my blog. I was gifted this tiny book last month from Jennie in SF, also through this blog. Connections.
More recently I have developed a friendship in the ether with a fellow artist. She seems to be a kindred spirit. We’ve written and shared about a mutual love of the woods, and the bare trees. Of the lifting and setting of the sun. The sound of the songbirds in spring …
These gifts, crafted by her own hands, were such a surprise. All of it. The beautiful mug with these delicate markings came stuffed with a note and a days worth of tea, morning, afternoon and night. And the little bird. That little bird just stole my heart. It has a rattle to it. A soft, soothing rattle if you shake it ever so lightly. It has become a new touchstone for me. A means of quietly bringing me back to center.
Debra, I’m not sure what I did to deserve this connection, but I am already so grateful to have you on the other end of a text or email. As we’ve mused, perhaps we aren’t really strangers at all, just friends who have yet to meet. These are such extraordinary times and I’m so blessed really to have people checking in, touching base, reaching out. Grace, this is grace.
You can find Debra and her husband’s studio on Facebook at Elements Studios or on Instagram @elementsstudiosohio. They are located in Ohio on a property that is both serene and inspirational. If you see something you like, reach out to her with your questions. She can ship to you and then, you too, can experience a little bit of joy from these talented craftspeople. Let’s support one another in the ways that we can. Thank you Debra. Your work is stunning.
This quarantine, this “shelter in place”, this stay at home order could be a lot worse. The mail could be halted. The internet could go down. We could lose touch without a means of reaching out to one another. We are fortunate we have so many ways not to feel alone. Not to feel left out or abandoned. This is the time we can see who people really are. The ones reaching out and connecting, those are my people.
We are surviving just fine here. We are doing what we can to help others in whatever ways we can. We find shelter in each other and shelter in the place we call home. The dog gets longer walks, the home exercise ritual intensifies and the creativity is at a low hum. Gus’s life has changed very little, though he snuggles more and loves that someone is here with him all day.
I expect that the things I am learning about myself and others during this time will be of great importance going forward. I will walk away with a greater appreciation of the places I had begun to take for granted. I am learning a lot about the people in my orbit and I will remember the acts of kindness, big and small. I’m so grateful for my friends, old and new.
I hope you are all staying safe. I really hope that you are all writing about how you feel and about what is happening. A fellow blogger wrote ” this is OUR world war”. It is our moment. Let it define who we are as a people and who we are as individuals.
I would love if you would share this blog. Just copy the address and send it along to someone who might like to join us here. Connections are everything. Especially now.
I have a few extra journals and I am happy to share if you need one. Let me know in the comments. Write it down and write it out. Share what it all looks like from your very unique perspective. This is your story to tell, too. The frustration and fear, the joy and the light.
Stay close, friends.
Keep reaching out.
Be the connection.
Be the light ♡