Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Sunset Solace

The entire world has changed in the blink of an eye, and it's a lot. I've been writing stories from Minneapolis, Minnesota under the "Clogtown" name to differentiate from "Blogtown" which has always been about Venice, California. If the global coronavirus has done anything, it has shown us that we are indeed a global village, and borders don't matter at all. We are one. So, from hereon out, Blogtown is for everyone, everywhere. I was feeling really upset yesterday, so took off to the place that has always brought me solace, Wood Lake Nature Center (outside walks are still o.k. so far).

This whole thing might be a true blessing in disguise, as I've never heard more noise from the wildlife in this nature preserve in my life. The planet seems to be slowly healing itself ... from the clear waters in the Venice (Italy) Canals, to the clear skies over China, to the millions of cars being off the road ... this pandemic might just end up buying us some more time on our Mother Earth.

I've been really sad for a while ... missing my Venice life (all of which is literally and figuratively locked up in really expensive storage at 4th and Rose - not sure what to do about that) so much, and really questioning my decision to be in Minnesota to help care for my beloved Mom. But not anymore. This is one of those prime examples of "Things happen for a reason." If all of this was going on and I was in California and my Mom was stuck in an assisted living facility here with no visitors, it would have torn me up forever. Instead, I busted her out just in the nick of time, and we are having massive amounts of quality time like never before. I've been gone for 25 years, and now we're more than making up for lost time, and she's beyond thrilled to be in her own home, eating good food, and doing whatever she wants, when she wants. I now know for sure that I made the right decision to be here for her now.

This was all being thought about while I was on my walk last night as the sun set over the super calm water. The geese were not super calm, however. I saw a lot of family dynamics going on, with fights and courting and feeding and ... kind of the same stuff we're all doing now. I felt like Snow White as I walked through the park, with birds flying right up to me, totally unafraid. Nature heals.

The brand new floating bridge is done (though I don't think we're supposed to be on it yet - sorry!), and beautiful and made from real wood (not that fakey plastic stuff) that you could smell had been freshly cut. The birds were making a huge racket, so much so that my brother, Paul (in CA), could hear them through the phone as we were talking. Rather distracting, but most welcome, as you could tangibly see the nature thriving.

It was starting to get dark, but I couldn't bring myself to leave. There were very few other people there, so it was super peaceful and calming to my soul. The rare times that I passed someone, we would wave and give one another a wide berth - the only sad part about it. Huge turkeys were digging around for food, and flying up to the tree tops in a seemingly impossible flight of fancy. I looked out over the expanse of the reeds and water, and felt nothing but grateful, really.

My quarantine experience in Minnesota so far has been very civilized. There have never been anything but normal lines in stores, there are stories of people helping people everywhere, and never has Minnesota Nice been more on display. There is a cultural thing here where no one will ever take the last one of anything, and that has held true at the grocery stores too. You'll see one apple left in the bin, one loaf of bread on the shelf, and today, one roll of toilet paper left at the Co-Op! No one can bring themselves to take what someone else might need or want more, and I love that about my hometown people. Thoughtfulness and caring are in abundance, even in normal times, but especially now - and this again affirms my belief that I was meant to be here now. (And yeah, I left that last roll too, even though that's the one thing you can't ever find!)

That niceness can also be seen in the Little Free Libraries that have bee turned into Little Free Pantries, along with books (Wood Lake's little library was full of juice boxes). It was starting to get dark, and I still had a long walk home, so I reluctantly headed down the path toward the entrance, though tearing my eyes and ears away from all of the beauty was difficult. I headed down one path, when there in the knot in  a tree was hidden a little painted rock saying, "You Are Wonderful!" What a day maker! Especially as I've done this exact fun little thing with my great pal, Beckett, back in Venice (maybe you've found one?). I DID take this (to show Beckett!), but I will pass it along myself, putting it in an unexpected place that will make someone else's day. Thanks, #WLKindness folks!

It was dark as I got close to home, and the street was now full of chalk messages, most likely created by bored neighborhood kids. Stay Healthy! Have A Great Day! Happy Spring! I mean, how are you not going to smile at that? The quarantine nightmare actually seems to be bringing out the best in people! Dropping off food for the elderly, little surprises left on your doorstep (thanks for the blueberry scones, Nelson Girls!), and countless lovely gestures are happening all around us every day.

When I got home, I saw that my Mom's next door neighbors had re-lit their Christmas lights on their house, and it cheered up the block so much, I almost think everyone should do it again ... or maybe in Easter colors! Whatever it takes to cheer people up, I'm all in. And on that note, we should ALL be all IN. PLEASE stay home as much as you can. We all know it sucks, but we all want it to be over, and that's not going to happen if you keep hanging out and going about your business as usual. It is going to get worse before it gets better, and it's up to all of us to put a stop to this menace. If we can all focus on the silver linings and the many blessings in disguise of it, it really won't be all that bad.

The homemade chicken soup was smelling great when I walked in the door (straight to the sink to scrub hands), and I felt so much better about everything than when I had walked out the door. I want you all to know that I love and miss you so much. That we're all going to get through this, and GROW while we're at it - if we can be smart and recognize that we truly are all in this giant world together - and this virus, if nothing else, has shown us that.

ONE LOVE! ONE HEART! I sure hope I see you far sooner than later. The hugs are going to be spectacular.

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