I really appreciate Sue’s warmth and wisdom. Taking a break from the darkness, refocusing attention on the small things that bring pleasure—such conscious choices really can make a difference in our days and nights.
by Sue Robin, Los Angeles, California
We watch the travelogues and yearn for the day when we might travel again. Rick Steves, the travel maven, reminds us of where we have been and helps light the spark for where we might go in the future. Of course, top on our list will be to see my son and daughter-in-law and our grandchildren, and then, perhaps, a week or two in Costa Rica, or Hawaii, or God knows where.
For now, I am taking a staycation of sorts. Usually that means taking in the sights of one’s hometown. But one cannot spend a week visiting the museums that dot Los Angeles from one end to the other during a pandemic. Nor can we take in a concert at the Disney Concert Hall, and there was no Hollywood Bowl this past summer and may not be one this coming summer either. But, much to our joy, the local PBS channel has Hollywood Bowl Classics every Friday night. We watched the exquisite Misty Copeland do her solo from Swan Lake and then listened to Beethoven’s Ninth last night.
We do get to walk by the ocean and through our favorite neighborhood park with a lake, a duck pond and a wee small stream that runs through a stand of majestic oaks. Sometimes the woodpeckers and the bullfrogs compete for our attention, and if we are lucky a coyote will wander by. As retired folk, we have the luxury of walking during the week when there are more four-legged creatures and fewer people.
I have finished a book, West with Giraffes, by Lynda Rutledge, an historical novel, set in the 1930s, that crisscrossed the USA. It touches on racism, sexism and respect for nature, with the main characters being the kind of people one might want as friends. I repotted some indoor plants and put some seeds in the garden. My neighborhood walks are longer. I have prepared some new recipes and, while not always the case, this week they were all a hit.
Like on a true vacation where access to daily news is limited, I have given myself a week off from checking the NY Times, CNN and reading the LA Times. I have watched only the PBS News Hour. Less device time, less anxiety about things that I can do nothing about and, miraculously, my sleep is a smidge better.
The initial rollout for vaccinations has been fraught with delays and snafus, but it is starting to work more efficiently, as those in charge add more sites and hone the delivery process. We lucked out with signing up for the first shot. The site then notified us for our second appointment, and it was straightforward and easy. Next Wednesday will be shot number two. I can feel the relief already.
Like the end of any vacation, I will look forward to restocking the larder. A trip to the grocery store instead of an online shopping cart sounds awesome. We may even feel comfortable enough to return to some of the neighborhood outdoor dining patios that just reopened. Those small things will bring a modicum of pleasure and help us to see the glimmer of the light at the end of the tunnel.
For the coming weeks, and sanity’s sake, I have decided on more of the same: less news and more Mother Nature. Please stay safe.