For a long time, I’ve said to friends my age, “what will our children say they had to live without.”
When my siblings and I were kids, our parents told us stories about their lives during WWII and the Depression - tales of long separations, lost loved ones and other daily struggles. Shortages of all kinds were so common they weren’t worth getting overly bothered about.
Scarcity and loss were ingrained in my parent’s everyday life for long periods of time and they were stronger for it. Their generation taught us to “waste not, want not” and then went on to create one the most prosperous and progressive eras in human history.
We, on the other hand, have endured very little communal scarcity or fear. But suddenly, in what feels like a hot minute we have a new story to tell. We’re now living through a time of global despair and people are making sacrifices that feel surreal.
Through all this, I’m trying to remain hopeful and seeking silver linings.
I have my dear daughter Erica home from her paused professional life in Vancouver. She says her quality of life has gone way up. No commute, meals made for her, laundry done and because Saltspring is all about nature, she’s enjoying daily walks with her dog - Joey. We just love having her home. It’s been years since we have had any real-time together. Now we share all life again. That’s a gift I’m grateful for.
And also there are the phone calls. I’ve called every one of my old old friends these last couple of weeks. We’ve been so busy this last decade I rarely found time to reach out and when I did I felt panic and an urge to make it quick. I’m also spending time simply chatting with my siblings about little things like cleaning out our pantries. We don’t usually find time to chat about stuff like this.
We’re also spending more time playing with our grandkids. Amy and Dan, and their sons Jack and Harley, live next door and work with us in the studio so we see each other often, but rarely slow down and cherish our time together. At two and five, their dear boys are a constant reminder to stop and enjoy the smallest things like examining a ladybug, making up games and reading stories. We’re making precious memories. What a treat.
A personal highlight this week was Dan and Don building a deck under the power lines at the top of our field. It’s in a weird spot we’ve never gone to before but it gets lots of late-day sunshine. Now we have a perfect happy hour meeting spot where we are enjoying cocktails and tea as a family.
So, I’m thinking of the year 2020 as a time to cultivate perfect vision. I’m asking myself will this be the year we humans were given the gift of being forced to see life in a new way? Will this experience help us better determine what’s important and what we can gently let go of?
I am drawing on a saying that is on one of our Little Gems - In The End. It’s a personal favorite. It says, “In the end, only three things matter. How much you loved, how gently you lived and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” Isn’t that a good one?
I hope that, like my parents, when this is over we’ll have learned something and be better for it. I hope that we humans will emerge from our cocoons of self-quarantine more beautiful, and more peaceful. I hope the time we spend away from the hurly-burly of modern life leads us to deeper understandings of ourselves, our humanity, and our environment.
My hope endures and I hope yours does as well. Please stay well.
With deep love and gratitude,
Suzanne Zacharias, Co-Founder Cedar Mountain Studios