Mother Nature is being kind to us these past couple of weeks in Lane County. Not only has she been generously giving us a spring filled with warm, sunny days, but she has interspersed them with welcome showers to keep the flowers happy and the earth moist and green. I marvel at how our Oregon springs can regenerate the soul as well as the flora surrounding us.
Jim and I are looking forward to a mini-vacation soon with my sister and brother-in-law, Barbara (B.J.) and Dwight. It will be an RV-camping vacation along the Columbia River for them and, because we are no longer able to use our RV, Jim and I will spend it with them at a nearby pet-friendly hotel. We’re going to take our Toby with us so that B.J. and I can take long walks with the dogs while Dwight rides his bike and Jim drives his electric scooter on the many bike trails that run along the beautiful river.
I’ve longed for this time together. Since they now live in Central Oregon after moving there from Cottage Grove a couple of years ago, we have had very few in-person visits during the pandemic. The stress of the COVID-19 restrictions and the political tensions that have made it so much worse, have taken their toll on close family and friend relationships for many of us this past year. Almost everyone I’ve talked with has mentioned the strain they feel in trying to hold on to the really important blessings we have built into our lives for so long.
I strongly believe that spring is an excellent time to turn off the 24-hour news channels and radio stations — all of them — that many of us have been glued to, and use social media only to connect with the people who really matter in our lives. We need to focus on those we love — despite their politics — and count all of the blessings we have built with them, together. We must all put the animosities aside; stop taking offense; look for the positives in the world around us for a change instead of being so obsessed with the negatives and the difficulties we’ve all faced equally during the pandemic. For the most part, each of us possess many of the same qualities — kindness, generosity, respect, compassion and reverence for all that is good, kind, generous, respectful, and compassionate. We love our country passionately. Patriotism may be held in our hearts in different ways, but it is present in all but those who want to destroy it.
So, let’s take advantage of Mother Nature’s freshening of our souls this spring and concentrate on everything that we have been blessed with. Rediscover the good that drew us into friendships and relationships in the first place; put aside the mistrust, cynicism, and hate that have been incited and allowed to build up over this past year regardless of what political label you want to claim.
When election time comes around again, vote your own heart and convictions — not someone else’s. If you want to work toward a particular goal, volunteer your time and make a difference, but don’t push away the special people in your life who have brought you friendship, love and blessings if their viewpoint doesn’t quite match yours.
Let’s bring back the warmth and joy in our own lives and let it encompass each of those around us … not only for their sakes, but for our own, as well.