The year of the pandemic, a year of connecting to life

The days are getting shorter. Beautiful afternoons seem to end suddenly, each day earlier. I know it has to happen and I know it will. Still, I have the hardest time to accept it. This year especially.

I have been out in nature, growing vegetables in our own yard, volunteering in a public garden, going for walks and hikes and bike-rides...and I loved it all. It was beautiful! More closely then ever have I observed nature around me. I watched the first greens and flowers sprouting, discovered many little flowers that I had overlooked before. I learned their names and read about their habitat and families. I took pictures, many. I couldn't keep up. By mid spring, it was overwhelming and I had to concentrate on just a few. It was beautiful and lush. All the animals who live here showed up, the squirrels, the chipmunks, the rabbits, the voles, gophers and skunks, birds of all sizes and colors, bees and butterflies and of course the mosquitoes. You are never alone. Despite social distancing and not seeing many people, I always felt I had a lot of life around me. I felt the connection to all living beings.

I started to bake sourdough bread in early May and I still do it every few days with growing enthusiasm. Had somebody told me that one day I will feed a sourdough starter every day, make a dough every few days requiring hours of attention in the evening, letting it rest overnight and baking it in the morning, I would have laughed them off. I always loved to cook but baking wasn't really my thing. Now, I consider baking bread a big joy of my life. And of course the bread tastes delicious. It's like I've once more discovered the simple pleasures, fresh bread with butter, how delicious and nourishing! Who would have believed that we would invite people over for bread and butter and that they would be overjoyed?

Now, most of our garden is put to bed for winter. Just a few hardy ones are still holding on to their greens: parsley, kale, swiss chard, thyme, sage and rosemary - so far. Inside the house the tomatoes and peppers are still ripening. The tomatoes might be with us for two more weeks but peppers will get us through the winter with their heat and their bright red color. And then the days will get longer again and the light will return!

Be well everyone and let's do our best to stay healthy and happy!