This morning, I looked down at my beat-to-hell tennis shoes. I had purchased them in early spring to be sported as hip, casual office attire. Although at forty-one, being hip is failing me miserably. These sweet “kicks” saw the office a only few times before the Stay-At-Home order relegated them to being my everyday shoes. Today they are splattered with concrete from the sidewalk Brady and I poured this morning, and the sole on the right foot big toe is starting to peel away like a wet scab. Last weekend they were my camp shoes and spent the majority of that trip drowning in a river bottom while wet wading, chasing cutthroats.
In the last five months they have reflected the world around them. Suddenly put on the shelf like our travel plans, then pulled out of temporary retirement to be enjoyed and utilized like the creative parts of our brains we had somewhat forgotten. Before the pandemic we churned out work like maniacs, while the economy chugged upwards like a airliner steadily climbing into the wild blue yonder. We all assumed this pause in life as we knew it would be short lived, and we’d be back to the same breakneck pace we had been accustomed to. Yet, here we are, fighting through misinformation, watching the rest of the world shake its head at our rapidly apparent shortcomings as a nation. People should fish more. It’s amazing what kind of perspective it can give. Although, the flashbacks of missed fish can be demoralizing and last a lifetime.
Today, our mental health seems to fluctuate like a teenager’s mood swings. One minute we are consumed with the hopelessness of uncertainty, the next we are powering ahead with new initiatives and creative ideas that seem to come out of thin air, building up our confidence and excitement for a new day. Those are the moments we need to hold on to. Now that we are home more often there have been shifts in our awareness that we seemed to not have time for before the world became so unpredictable. For one, a lot of folks have noticed the birds we share our yards and balconies with. The birding community has seen a small explosion in interest among us earthlings, and that’s just one of the many positive shifts. If interested, there’s no better place to start than The Audubon Society.
More people are walking and biking than ever before and on those paths there tends to be a bit of trash that needs picking up. The amount of highway, river, bike path, and hiking trail cleanups has increased with this new found set of eyes of ours. It’s almost like we stopped for a second and saw the world around us we had been overlooking for decades, or just didn’t have enough time in our busy schedules to actually do anything about. Now, here we are, faced with the reality that our little blue planet is in fact, finite, and if we don’t pull our heads clean out of our asses, the spiral down will continue to accelerate. It’s an opportunity like we’ve never had before. If you aren’t excited, you aren’t paying attention! There’s no better time than now!
The success stories are outweighing the negative. BLM has caught a true foothold, saving Bristol Bay has more traction than ever, our leaders are being fact-checked live, pet adoption is through the roof, and involvement in our children’s lives is growing as so many of us navigate working from home and actually parenting. In times like these it could be easy to negate the positive and accept long standing divisions and ideologies, but as I walk around our neighborhood, parks, and along our riverbanks witnessing the kindness of strangers, it reminds me that politicizing something as petty as face masks and downplaying social injustices will be a bump in the road as we continue to trend in the right direction. There will always be poor behavior and weak minds, but like a piece of trash on the side of the river, it should noticed then remedied, and not overlooked.
Looking forward to seeing so many of you at the Clear Creek / Pond cleanup in September. Try to stay positive and listen to your conscience, and we’ll be in a better place in our minds and in the universe in no time.