Uncertainty. The past year has been fraught with it. I think it's safe to say that every one of us has struggled in 2020. Covid-19 brought with it so much loss, pain, anxiety, sadness, and even conflict.
For me this was to be a year of deliberate change. My job of 15 years was ending and I was looking forward to taking THEPARKNEXTDOOR down new avenues. Perhaps leading hikes, nature photo workshops, and more. This website and its content are a labor of love for me. I've been building and maintaining it for over 6 years now. I was ready to turn it into something more. Though the pandemic put some of those plans on hold, I have tried to focus even more on the hiking local aspect of the site. And I haven't run out of new green spaces yet.
The value of even a tiny bit of nature has become even greater. A quiet space to breathe, a bench to sit on, a short walking trail, a Robin in a birdbath, a garden path. Just a window view on a rainy day can be a respite of sorts. We are intertwined with this earth.
On a personal level, we've encountered some difficult days this past year. I've had some ongoing health issues, my husband has, too, and our immediate family have had some very close calls. Dropping off a loved one at an emergency room and having to wait in the car is an experience I don't wish on anyone. Not being able to visit a sick and very vulnerable loved one in the hospital has been heartbreaking.
I credit the moments spent in nature as keeping me sane during these times. No matter how brief the stay, I always return home feeling a little better, a little calmer, a little more hopeful. More able to cope.
This year has not been one of long hikes for me. But every moment spent in nature has been priceless.
I'm grateful, too, for readers like you. For nature lovers near and far. For those that find peace in the garden or the wood. For those that love the smell after a rain, or the sound of footsteps in the snow. For those who delight in birdsong and the falling leaves. For those who love a good walking trail, or a run along the river. Don't lose hope, Friends. Remember, we all live beneath the same big beautiful sky.
A traveler, singer, novice photographer, humane gardener, and nature lover.