Longer, brighter days ahead

I did something last evening that would have seemed crazy a month ago. I stopped by my parents’ house and we sat down in their living room and chatted for an hour. We hugged and snacked and just enjoyed hanging out together. They left this morning to go visit family in Nebraska.

The extraordinary ordinariness struck us all as we fell back into once familiar territory talking about the people and all the little things in our lives.

I think about the line repeated in Joni Mitchell’s song (later covered by Counting Crows) Big Yellow Taxi. “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. They paved paradise and put a parking lot.”

Our lives have been transformed in ways that we probably don’t understand yet. We’ve all missed out on a lot—visits to and from friends and family, a sense of ordinariness about once-routine activities, school and work schedules.

I don’t mean to talk as though the pandemic is over and we can all just go back to our normal routines. There is no more normal, and we’re not sure what the new normal will look like. Will we avoid handshakes? Will we travel by air less? Will we keep Zooming with friends and family and for meetings? How long will we avoid large groups, indoor entertainment, eating in restaurants?

I know that we’re not completely out of the woods and that many more will get sick, have long-term effects and any will die. And I don’t want to minimize that.

It is nice, though, to be running stories like Lynn Nichols’ story “Easing into the new normal, 5 ways to regain a healthy family balance” instead of stories about how to survive the long, dark COVID-19 winter. And so to celebrate that thaw, we’re running stories to help us all get outside and appreciate this spring, this season of life emerging once again in the cycle, as it does.

We have a couple of stories to get you out into your backyard to connect with the natural world. Lea Hanson has put together a story for first-time gardeners with the idea that it’s tough to dive into something new without a little guidance. And Theresa Baer shares some ideas to liven up your yard with some creative bird feeders from repurposed household items.

If you’re feeling like a small road trip, check out Shelley Widhalm’s ideas for a nature day in Denver. Also, check out her story about Earth Day and all the virtual and in-person activities that support us as we learn about our green and blue planet.

We need to keep our guard up and our masks on for a bit longer, but I, for one, definitely feel the days growing longer and brighter.

Thanks for reading,