Last year in August, I was baking banana bread and writing haikus and picking sunflowers at a nearby farm. I remember feeling more relaxed even with all that was going on because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The time spent at home in spring 2020 helped me to take a step back, slow down and relish the moment. Yes, I confess I did some binge watching of Netflix movies and had moments of panic. But more often than not, I felt an inner peace and calm especially in my times of inward reflection and prayer. I noticed little things that I hadn’t paid attention to before: the rising and falling of my chest while I was meditating, the distant sound of an owl “whooo-ing,” and the swaying of the bamboo when a strong breeze swept through our neighbor’s backyard.
A year after, the pandemic hasn’t ended, but my more relaxed state of mind and heart seems to be waning. I have lapsed into my pre-pandemic mode of being that is addicted to hurry, obsessed with productivity and unwilling to slow down. For the first time in over ten years I have decided not to take the last two Sundays of August off. This decision, in retrospect, was a mistake.
So here I am writing and reflecting on what of this summertime I can still salvage. Perhaps, I can still make a day trip to the mountains or near a lake and get away from it all: the 24-hour news cycle, social media and all the online cacophony of opinions, claims, disinformation and the raging battle over masks and vaccines. It may not be too late to celebrate this season, even with its heat waves, tornadoes and forest fires. I still have time to listen to the crickets, watch the fireflies glow at dusk and take a much needed afternoon nap.
Perhaps, I can still make a day trip to the mountains or near a lake and get away from it all… (free photo from pexel.com)