Updated: Sep 13, 2021
Thursday, January 21st is Squirrel Appreciation Day!
At the start of the pandemic, I began to walk my community. At first, I walked to curb anxiety about the “new normal” but quickly found that “my walk” became a very important part of my routine. Charlotte has always been good at getting out and walking, but with previously having an office job, I always seemed to have an excuse. I started with just a mile or so but then began adding streets, and now I walk five and a half miles daily. I found that I enjoyed seeing friends and neighbors on “my walk”, and the nod and smiles quickly became cheerful waves and short, socially distanced conversations. I looked forward to this new way to visit!
Not only do I look forward to my human neighbors, but I am eager to see the animals that share our community. Behind my home, we have a blue heron that we call Blue. A family of ravens live in a dead tree in the marsh. I have a grumpy face cat that greets me in the back of my community and of course the dogs that either bark a greeting or wag a tail as I come by. While walking I am greeted by marsh birds, song birds, marsh rabbits in the fall, and of course squirrels. I even saw a bald eagle one day! I am in awe of the beautiful surroundings that make up our island community.
When I first started walking, I encountered a man who had stopped riding his bike along the bridge over the marsh. When I passed by, he said, “Boy! If we have to be stuck, isn’t this a glorious place to have to be!” That one comment made me start thinking. I needed to look around and enjoy all of our community. I started to notice my neighbors' fruit trees, gardens, and new plantings. I became familiar with the different work trucks coming and going and have befriended our waste company crew. While this virus has changed so much in our world, maybe it has been a benefit for us to come back together as a community.
Maybe this “new normal” isn’t so bad if you look at it this way. My family placed rainbows in our windows, teddy bears on our front porch, and have exchanged baked goods in the carpool line...all for the sake of community. Sometime during this time our community installed a “little library”. I have contributed books and have taken a look from time to time and found my first book to borrow last week. Our social committee has arranged for us to have food trucks come into our community, which has provided another way to socially distance and see those outside the “pod” my family and close friends have created to stay safe.
It is certainly a different time. I am excited when I can find two-ply toilet paper, learned to live with mild taco sauce (instead of hot), and really made an effort to shop locally. We started Longshore Solutions, I learned how to bake, have been meal planning with local produce, and even started making my bed! I have also made new friends -- even from a distance -- including fuzzy, feathered, and of course human. I am thankful for all of this! Maybe on this Squirrel Appreciation Day, take note of what you are thankful for in your community.
What have you noticed about your community during this time? Have you started any new hobbies?
Liz Stephens, CAM/Co-owner Longshore Solutions