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Our Own Backyards

Together, we’ve traveled around Maine through the posts of this blog. We’ve visited state parks, trails, cozy Bed & Breakfast get-away’s. We’ve kayaked and snowshoed and walked. We’ve explored together in winter, fall, spring, and glorious Maine summers. Photos have given credence to the posts, shown what my words are telling, and hopefully enticed you to write down the place in your journal of wishes to someday visit. We’ve lived Maine seasons, together.

But today, we’re “sheltered in place.”

It’s a term I had never run into in my prior 56 years. As this time of such a harsh and quick halt of life as we know it, some of us are faring ok. Others of us are having more difficulty acclimating. Those living alone may have passed the point where this is still do-able and begun to creatively reach out to others for much-needed human connection.

My son said that for our family of introverts, this change isn’t much of a stretch. We are each home bodies; our homes are our favorite places to be. We have an endless list of things we want to do when alone. We’re never lonely. Our normal daily rhythms are still in place – we already had food stocked, we already exercised regularly, we already spent time outdoors alone, we already cooked our own food and went out rarely. However, even for those where this isn’t a stretch….the forced nature of it, the overwhelming fear of it, make it challenging for each and every one of us.

So today, I think we’ll explore our own backyards.

Something beautiful we’re witnessing in this forced sheltering-in-place, is people seeing all that is around them with fresh, appreciative eyes. We’re not pressed to be somewhere. Families are taking walks together every day. I’m seeing a sister and brother ride their bikes down our street and into the trail daily; I’d never seen them before. Another young couple in their PJ pants walk their dog past every morning; I’d never seen them before. People are experiencing simpler times, simpler things, needing less, doing less. They’re coming to know, if they didn’t already, what is just outside their own back doors.

Because I love the wonder and beauty of nature, I have wicker porch chairs facing the sunset; I have blue Adirondack chairs facing the trail and the patch of trees that will, very soon, be abundantly dressed in green leaves; I have a tiny deck set, on my tiny deck beside planters that will soon be filled with herbs. Buds are beginning to sprout on our new white lilac bushes. Stems of the daisies we planted beside a rock have begun to peek out from the frozen earth of winter. Lupines we planted are hopefully beginning to awake and will soon push through the earth in the far corner of our yard. Pussy willows are starting to present down the street near the field.

The stream beside our house has been rising and falling as rains come and go during this time of pulling inward. Working remotely at a desk in the guest room gives us the opportunity to watch the Cinderella birds flitting about to the feeder and back to their perch on the paper birch tree. The barren winter branches are sometimes filled with these beautiful, brilliantly colored birds -- singing. Singing as though the world hadn’t changed a bit. I crack my window to hear them, to feel the breeze, to breathe the fresh air.

We’re walking the trail, once steeped in white snow, now muddy as the world turns on its axis, moving us, once again, toward spring. Each new day dawns. The sun comes up. The sun goes down. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to live our Maine seasons in all their ugliness, their beauty, their cold, and their sunshine and heat.

I look forward to the day I can grab my camera, and my husband, and go wherever we want, whenever we want. But for now, I’ll look out at my own backyard. Inside looking out. Grateful to have it.

And I’ll sit alone in one of those chairs.

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