The words virus, pandemic, lockdown, and other alarming terms are everywhere. Many people are out of work or losing hours. Others are struggling to work from home for the first time. Resources are limited, the future uncertain.
My husband is a delivery driver. Every day before his shift he jumps back and forth between fearing the worst and hoping things will go back to normal soon.
My mother-in-law was a nurse. She just retired early because the risk is too much. And plenty of other friends and family members are working in the medical industry. My cousins are young and have a good sense of humor about it. You have to. It’s the only way to get through it.
I’m one of the lucky ones. I get to work from home writing for a local company, but business is bad and I’ve had to go down to part time work. It’s stressful. Even with the stimulus package, no one knows when this will end, and that’s one of the hardest aspects of the COVID-19 threat.
But there is an unexpected bond forming between neighbors. We’re waving to each other more. Smiling and sending over care packages.
Outdoor exercise has become a challenge, but joggers, bikers, and families taking walks are looking out for each other. Fresh air and sunshine is a reminder that the birds are still singing and flowers will still bloom.
We need those reminders. The world is still thriving, even if ours is a bit imbalanced right now.
Just this week I was working in the garden with my daughters. “What are these ones called?” My seven-year-old stared at the blooms like they held fairy magic.
“Pansies.” I smiled as we dug in the dirt and added some much–needed color to our yard.
We talked and laughed as the sun brightened our world. The grass still held the fresh scent of my childhood. There were plenty of worms wiggling around.
Neighbors driving by honked and waved. Anyone passing by kept their distance but offered kind words of encouragement. It’s as if we all miss each other so much that we’re being more polite than ever.
And not just to each other, but to our homes and the surrounding areas.
More and more people are taking the time to get familiar with the earth and grow something. With the extra time, and a need to take breaks from the media frenzy, gardening reminds us to be patient. It gives us something to look forward to while providing safe outdoor spans in the fresh air. It’s something people have done for ages. It keeps us going.
For me, it offers a sense of normalcy. I would be out planting whether I was working full-time, part-time, or unemployed.
The urge to make myself useful is always there, but even more so now. Growing a vegetable garden is no longer a hobby it’s become a necessity. Any crop I grow for myself leaves more for those who cannot and have to brave the stores. Any extras my plants produce will be a gift to share with neighbors. Our harvest will be a true blessing this year.
More and more people are doing what they can. Some are out gardening, others are sewing masks for medical workers, or shopping for elderly neighbors. Many mechanics are offering discounts to essential workers, especially delivery drivers.
Humanity is blooming all around us as spring progresses. No matter how long the quarantine lasts, there will always be little things we can all do to ease the burden.
My flowers may not save the sick or dying, but they do brighten the world, if only for just a season. The seeds we sow right now will root themselves into the future and grow based on how they are tended. Storms will come. Last year I lost a lot of vegetables to flooding, but that won’t stop me from planting again.
Nothing will. It’s part of who I am.