For the last few days, my daughters and I have been building planter boxes. My prior five years in Columbia, I lived on a property with lots of trees (which are their own pleasure, and I miss them!) But my new house has lots of sun, which means I can plant vegetables and get more than five cherry tomatoes off a plant in an entire season!
It feels good to be outside. The cicadas seem to be on the wane. Only four landed on me yesterday. And our boxes are almost ready, so last night’s trip to Lowe’s also included a few pepper plants and some thyme. And my children promised a future trip (and planting labor) to a garden center for my Mother’s Day present, so I can pick up a few more perennials and some additional herbs.
It will feel good to nurture living things.
Nurturing has been on my mind, lately. As we move out of the last year of pandemic and begin to re-enter a life where we can see friends, feel less fear and anxiety, start to regain our confidence, I hope we can also nurture ourselves and each other. My friends CB Beal and Tina Lesley-Fox wrote an essay this week about regathering, and what it might be like for us, for our children, for each other.
Many of us have experienced trauma around how we have been required to live for the last year. Many of us have forgotten social skills that formerly required no more thought than breathing. For me, it takes extra effort to be friendly to people now that I’m back in stores and other public spaces. I have to consciously remember to talk to people.
I recently had a conversation with someone about eating in restaurants—how we aren’t ready to be in crowded spaces yet, especially without masks. That means my few instances of joining a friend for coffee or a meal requires looking for places that offer outside eating. I’m glad it’s summer as we wind down from the height of the pandemic and begin to emerge from our metaphorical underground, turn our faces to the sun, stretch and grow in what feels like new and unusual ways. It’s so much easier to feel safe in outside spaces, and I’m nurturing that core of me that remembers a different way of being in the world, a way that’s ready to start unfurling and reaching out, growing and stretching toward community and connection.
How are you nurturing yourself?