There will likely be some remarkable outcomes when a culture social-distances itself for an extended amount of time. True, there will be some negative outcomes but there will be positives as well. We are all forced to think about what we will do differently with our time.
I have at least 3 major focuses: faith, family and the outdoors. As an avid plant enthusiast, my mind wanders to the extra time I can spend enjoying and caring for my yard. There will be connections to my church through social media and maybe even some time left to watch a little Netflix. I’m dreaming about the next walking path I can make in my woods. Maybe I’ll even dig out a pond feature.
What about your backyard? Is this the year you have the time to water those new plantings? Maybe it’s the year to start gardening vegetables? If you have the time, you can get outdoors, soak up some vitamin D and get exercise because you can’t go to the gym anyway! Most of all you can get vegetables that taste better than anything you can buy in the store, and they’re healthier. If you grow them you don’t have to go to the store which is a good thing too – and you know nobody else has touched them. This might be the year you can get around to some of those things you’ve always wanted to do. It’s an opportunity to talk to your neighbours over the fence and teach the kids work ethic, patience, and reward.
As economic times can get tighter, it’s also a chance to grow your own food. You may find contentment in the quiet backyard with a book. Maybe you’ll get to plant a few things that you actually have time to admire. This could be a great spring to plant an apple tree! I had a homemade pie just last week and I’m still eating dried apple pieces from last fall, we keep them frozen – it makes them nice and crunchy. Now there’s a word we don’t use much anymore: “homemade.” I’m just dreaming up a list, homemade apple crisp, rhubarb crisp, jams, vegetable soup, salsa, spaghetti sauce, corn on the cob. You can freeze some veggies for winter like beets, carrots, and green beans. If you want even less time-consuming ideas think about fresh salads. There’s cucumber salad, Mediterranean cucumber and tomato salad with olive oil and a little salt and many others. You can do spinach or fresh lettuce. Have you ever had a radish sandwich? Fresh bun with butter, radish slices and a little salt (my grandparents came from Russia it’s an old country thing). You can seed spinach in April, June, and August and have crops into early November. Crops like pumpkin, squash, carrots, parsnips, onions and potatoes can be stored for months into the winter. Just the wonder of growing and watching things grow is a free antidepressant.
Building a deck could be a fun family project. It’s a chance for learning and working together for a unified goal! If that’s not part of the budget you can always go back to gardening, seeds and plants are as cheap as borscht… come to think of it they are borscht, ha! What about a few more barbeques? Or sitting around the fire pit, going for walks, bocce ball, throwing a Frisbee or a baseball? We yearn for summer all winter long; let’s fully embrace the outdoors this year! I’m not trying to make light of the huge challenges ahead, as I’m writing this, I have no guarantee that we will remain open to the public, have economic setbacks, or any nursery income at all.
We may even have significant health issues. I DO know that even in the dark ages the sun still rose in the east and people found joy in simple pleasures. One thing I am certain of is that yesterday I was not in control, but God was, today I am not in control, but God still is. This has not changed. Jesus had a few powerful words in Matthew chapter 6, verses 19-34. If you’re looking for perspective and hope, check it out.
My hope and prayer for you all is that these present challenges can help you reset and align your lives rather than destroy your hope or joy.