Life is changing. Becoming a daily challenge. Life after COVID…an unknown.
Many of us, riveted to our television and iPad screens, attempt to make sense of the mayhem of virus and violence. We are heavy with sadness and layers of worry that has plagued us since the celebration of a new year ushered in 2020.
Times are tough.
We are seeking ways to escape. Choosing ways to cope. Individually searching for methods to self-soothe.
I choose to write.
I write to connect with myself. I write to connect with others.
I write, coaxing overwhelming thoughts to congeal, hoping to form clarity, dispel angst. Writing provides an outlet. Creates a hopeful vision. It distracts from the chaos, while inviting others to join in a thoughtful process of dialogue.
I walk in nature.
Being one with the outdoors invites all six senses to focus on beauty….in beauty I find peace.
To witness light filter and fall in patterns on a forest pathway quiets my mind.
Hearing the melodic song of a red-winged blackbird radiate from a tree or flowering bush summons my eyes to search, to locate the creature in hope of a ‘chat’.
Yes, I do in fact speak to birds….chipmunks, bees, butterflies…dragonflies, too. Tho, last week, when startled by a snake that slithered directly in front of me, nearly crushed under the sole of my shoe, my inclination was not to whisper but to screech. Loudly. Yet, even this being I found to be a delight!
I hiked the Scarborough Marshes again several days ago.
Since mid-March, traversing this unique area, at least a dozen times, witnessing the grasses transform from winter-brown to a deep summer-green along winding waterways that rise and fall on the ebb and flow, brings with each visit new enchantment.
At high tide, strings of whirlpool stretch out from under a bridge, covered in yellow pollen, swirling inward like a nautilus shell.
Staring at the circular motion, entranced, I hear a calming voice in my head whisper, “Keep it simple, Babe.”
Today I walked Scarborough Beach for the first time since the end of last summer. It had been closed for several months in early spring due to the virus.
Arriving at 9:00 am, expecting a crowd, I was pleasantly gifted with an empty beach.
The sandy pathway to the water held the scent of Ragusa rose bushes entwined in a weather-beaten wooden fence. The morning sun, pitched at an angle, lit up treasures the tide had scattered along the shore…the irregular, bumpy outer-carvings and smooth translucent interior of an empty oyster shell partly buried in surf, an abandoned lobster trap dropped by the sea perches vicariously on a craggy rock, stones of various sizes and markings smoothed by the waves lie strewn about the sand for over a mile, an ocean-sculpted driftwood lounges on a ledge, and the remains of a crab, undoubtedly breakfast for a gull, is discarded among seaweed.
No words adequately describe the lure of the ocean, the awe, the wonder, the splendor of this extraordinary place, one of my favorite beaches in Maine.
At the farthest end of the beach, a woman perhaps a decade older than I, descended the steps of a typical Maine cottage….gray-shingled and weathered, a front porch supporting two matching Adirondack chairs…sitting high above the rock and sand.
After an exchange of morning greetings…she with no mask, mine dangling from my ears resting on my neck…I asked if this were her home. She responded, stating she has lived here since the 1960’s.…this sanctuary with a splendid view overlooking the jagged, gold-streaked rocks, tidal pools and expansive open ocean, was hers.
My response, hand to my heart, imagining the joy of owning the likes of this home, “You are so blessed. What a beautiful spot you have, one of the most beautiful in Maine.”
And I meant it.
Farther down the beach, roped-off dunes allow a comfortable haven for hatching piping plovers. A mother plover, behaving rather strangely as I passed her by, dragged a wing along the sand as tho wounded. I later read this is the behavior of a plover protecting her young from harm, the cutest little critters, flitting along the sand, peeping with joy.
Another divine treat.
With each walk outdoors…in the woods, beside the ocean, among the marshes, through a cemetery, along the waterfront, across an island, and throughout the now pandemic-silenced city…I repeat my internal mantra, “keep it simple, babe”…and breathe.
P.S. I am curious, my friends, how are you distracting, soothing, calming and caring for yourself during this time of unrest and pandemic?