3 minute read
By: Kristen Berthiaume
Is it just me or has spring in Birmingham been particularly spectacular this year? With the exception of those few stormy times, the season has been made up of bright days with clear blue skies and quiet, cool evenings. Now that the pollen has subsided, the air even feels cleaner; and it turns out, this isn’t my imagination – researchers find that air pollution has lessened in cities. These long days with everyone at home are hard in several ways. Inside the house, the E-learning log-ins don’t always work and siblings are always fighting about who’s allowed in whose room and who isn’t. Outside of the house, there are new flowers to notice, beautiful shades of blue above me, and constant music coming from the trees. To be able to step away from the “new normal” frustrations inside and spend a few minutes in nature is an incredible gift that I’m making daily effort to notice.
One way I’m trying to be more mindful of the natural world is through gardening – something I’ve never taken much time for before. And it does take time – gardening is not a quick process. Much of that time is spent waiting – for seeds to grow, for flowers to bloom, for bees to come, for fruits to produce. Some of my seeds have sprouted green shoots while others are staying safely tucked away under their soil with no apparent plans for growth. When you’re used to so much of life happening on a predictable schedule, suddenly having no discernible timeline is both frustrating and freeing.
As it is with this period of uncertainty in which we all find ourselves living. There is no expiration date on this virus or our need to shelter-in-place and, while we should all do our part, we have little individual control over when the danger will pass. The weight of it almost intolerable when we sit and consider all the “what ifs.” Reading the daily news seems burdensome and hopeless, yet I’d feel I was ignoring the suffering of others if I didn’t keep myself informed. Under all this strain and uncertainty, I am exponentially grateful for the opportunity to escape into nature away from the chaos and conflict. Focusing for just a few minutes on how dirt feels in my hands, the glint of the sun off green leaves, and the sounds of a mild breeze helps me remember what is here and now, and not what might be later.