The Pandemic Gave Me A Gift - Honoring A New Found Appreciation for Spring, Nature & Home
Hope Infusion April Newsletter - 2nd Edition
The pandemic turned the world upside down, and took much from many — both tangible and intangible. The most heart rending of those losses for me was the lives of beloved friends. But the pandemic also offered an unexpected gift, a gratitude for simple pleasures that I lacked prior to 2020. I share about the embrace of that gift in the essay below, and the poem that follows it. I also share a link to an interview with recently deceased Poet Mary Oliver, in which she shares how she was saved by the beauty of the world.
No Place I’d Rather Be Than Here
In 2015, a synchronistic mishap activated a wanderlust that had long laid dormant within me. Circumstances converged to land me on the west coast, in a rental car with my husband — embarking on an impromptu nine day, three state, 1500 mile, road trip.
The resulting tri-state trek ignited a passion for adventure that, in ensuing years, took us to mountains, canyons, waterfalls and parks in all three countries of North America.
We reveled in the natural splendor of awe inspiring landforms, that each, in their own way, breathed life into our souls.
And then the clock struck 2020…
We were abruptly jolted into a new normal…and not just us, the whole world!
It was a stunning and unforeseen paradigm shift, that in my world, replaced chaos with calm, busyness with stillness, and doing with being.
Leisure travel came to a halt. And the majority of the collective “we” was forced to stop moving and BE still.
Part of my inner road warrior missed the untethered freedom to wander at will the last two years. And now that most restrictions have been lifted, and I’m free to resume wandering as I wish….I’m surprised by my distinct lack of an urge to do so.
I discovered a new place to explore and enjoy nature during the pandemic, and it requires no travel to get there. An immersive outdoor adventure awaits…just on the other side of my front door.
I reside in the hot and humid state of Georgia where in early Spring, before temperatures soar to the breath of hell that they are in summer, the weather is just tepid enough to lounge in my yard for hours at a time with no fear of sunburn or heat exhaustion.
This month my eyes have been attentively focused on the seasonal unveiling of new life as the surrounding landscape yawned itself awake from a long winter nap, exhaling shoots of green and rainbows of budding color.
Each day the air is newly filled with the presence of self-propelled flowers. Butterflies. Airborne Art. Flowers of the sky. A flying kaleidoscope of living color dancing between pollinating plants.
I’ve grown appreciative of the bird choir that resides in the towering oak near my bedroom window. They’re more reliable than an alarm clock and sing me awake daily as the sun breaches the horizon at dawn.
Their morning melodies have long been sung, but in the last two years, they ceased going unnoticed!
The pandemic paused the distraction of business as usual to which I was accustomed. And amidst the silence, I grew better able to hear.
Hear nature. Hear my inner knowing. Hear the step by step guidance of my internal GPS. Silence is more than just the absence of noise. Silence isn’t empty, it’s full of answers! And sometimes, the quieter you become, the more you can hear.
Spring nights have become a treasured time for night exploration of my neighborhood. And on clear nights, it’s ideal for stargazing, moon watching, planet observing, and critter listening.
I’ve grown present to a daily moment of silence each evening, when nature holds its breath, like the rest between notes on a piece of sheet music.
On the other side of this sacred pause…. the night chorus commences. A harmonious symphony of sound comprised of croaking, chirping, and buzzing….nature’s evening lullaby.
There is to everything in life a time and a season. Travel will commence anew for me at a time not yet determined.
Until then, I’m content embracing stillness, savoring Springtime, and welcoming the lessons of calm. Because for this time and season….There is no place I’d rather be than here!
I penned this poem in a writing class focused on observing the beauty of the natural world. It pairs nicely with the thoughts expressed in the preceding essay, and was written during the first summer of the pandemic.
As the sun slips beneath the horizon at dusk I see God in the evening moonrise In the ascent of our radiant night light The lunar light source that brightens night skies The heavens at night bear silent witness To divine order that exists in creation I fix my gaze upward in silence My mind turns to deep contemplation My soul overflows with amazement When I bask in the wonder of night Lifting my gaze to the moon, stars, and planets An awe inspiring sight Saturn and Jupiter are nearby companions From the angle at which I can see Mars sits afar off from these planetary friends Emanating a red vibrancy Amidst two years of pandemic life, I developed new hobbies and past times Walking at night with the love of my life Is a warm weather favorite of mine When the world seems chaotic and out of control, The night sky is there to remind me That no matter what happens, I’m known and loved, By a Creator who knows where to find me!
If you’re a fan of poetry you may find this interview for the On Being podcast, between host Krista Tippett and poet Mary Oliver, to be of interest. In this poignant conversation, the renowned poet who passed away in 2019, shares in earnest about how she was literally “saved” from a tumultuous and chaotic childhood by the beauty of the world.
Description from the Website:
The late poet Mary Oliver is among the most beloved writers of modern times. Amidst the harshness of life, she found redemption in the natural world and in beautiful, precise language. She won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award among her many honors — and published numerous collections of poetry and also some wonderful prose. Krista met with her in 2015 for this rare, intimate conversation. We offer it up anew, as nourishment.