What does kindness look like during a pandemic? When I go for walks, neighbours smile, wave, or say hello. At the grocery store, every exchange with a person seems more meaningful than the time before the pandemic. We look each other in the eyes as though to say, I see you, do you see me. Have you noticed the kindness and warmth in your community too?
This morning I finished reading the last 10 pages of Birds, Art, Life by Kyo Maclear. For the last few days, I’ve held onto these pages so the book wouldn’t come to the end. Do you have books that you savour?
Birds and books always catch my attention.
Yesterday I watched two female cardinals and a male cardinal in the apple blossom tree out my front window. Some days it’s crows, cawing first to say hello, I’m here and then performing air acrobats above the tree line. Lately, chickadees peek in the windows, likely wondering why I’m still in the house.
My life stories are writing themselves now. This isn’t an easy time and I feel grateful for what I have. A warm house. Stable income. Delicious food. Loving friends and family. Books to read. Poems to write. A lake nearby that I can walk to. The beauty of winter. Sightings of hawks and geese and crows that remind me we will be okay.
It’s natural to write life stories for ourselves about the way our days and years should go. We write stories about our careers, our relationships, and personal goals. From mapping out each chapter of where we should be and what we should be doing to deciding how our character will grow and change within a set time frame, we are master storytellers.
Lately I’ve been inspired by air. Breath. Space. Sky. Flight. It started with John O’Donohue’s poetry last Spring. I started reading one of his poems every morning as a way to focus my attention for the day. While walking by the lake, I reflected on a line or a theme from his poetry, trying to connect to the world in the way I connected to his words.
Over the break I ordered Disney+ so I could watch ‘The Mandalorian’ and the movie ‘Soul.’ Then I started watching other things. The Maleficent movies. Hamilton again. Mulan. The element of air was prominent in each of them through storylines connected to flight, breath, inspiration, and the use of sky and space. Even the musical Hamilton has a song: Blow Us All Away.
Air is an essential metaphor and element.
Before the winter break, students asked their teachers as they walked out to the buses, “will you be my teacher when I come back?” We all felt the energy in the air shifting from enthusiasm for some holiday time to the worry for how long the holiday would last.
Back to school looks different this month. We return to school at home this morning. Children across the province attend classes online instead of in-person. Teachers wake up to step into their digital classrooms. Parents wonder how they will balance working from home and supervising their children.
We return to routine, yet the routines will be different. We return to learning, yet the learning will require more diligence and perseverance. Change is rarely easy.
Happy New Year! This morning I woke up feeling alive and awake. Beginnings. Natural turning points on our paths. Today is open to be anything. We can connect to every possibility.
Instead of resolutions this year, I’m reflecting on revolutions. Resolutions are firm decisions to do or not do something. When you resolve something, it brings closure or provides an answer, a solution. Typically we make resolutions where we firmly decide we will be healthier or happier or more creative. We decide. We set the intention. And then we feel badly when the river of life carries us around a bend we didn’t predict and the decision we made on January 1st suddenly becomes the residue left behind on the riverbank.
This morning we finally have some snow falling. The gentle downward floating looks peaceful. When the rain falls, I feel peace too.
What is it about this downward motion? The natural flow of connecting to the ground, moving from sky to earth, cloud to rock, from up there to down here.
We fall asleep too. The heavy deep sinking into the pillow as the body rests, knees and elbows and hips and toes falling into dreams.
If falling feels so right, why do I put so much effort into rising? Why don’t I look for places to fall in life instead of places to climb?