Put on a mask and go for a stroll in your neighborhood. Step outside and feel the air. The freshness and the fragrance, the blast of cool and warm. It fills you up and helps you let go.
The trees protect you, shade the path. Each tree is dressed with a thick white ribbon tied to its trunk that sails gently with the wind, showing healthcare workers that we support them from afar. Ahead, the daffodils gesture with their slim green branches. Stoop down to hear them whisper, “Open up your eyes! See the sunny skies!” You don’t know how to answer (you’ve never spoken to a flower before), so you thank them and rise in wonder.
Listen to either side of the sidewalk for any other life you might have never noticed can speak. Does everything have a voice? The sidewalk beneath you turns colorful. An inspiring family pastime during shelter-in-place, the whole sidewalk is sketched in for the Chalk Your Walk movement to tell our neighbors we care. Green, yellow, pink, red, and blue chalk drawings cover every inch of it. Some squares have messages in chalk reading, “Thank you,” “Stay strong,” and “There is good in the world,” while others are stunning rainbow designs.
When heading home, you spot a teddy bear in the front window of your neighbor’s home. The bears in everyone’s windows are there for children to find in scavenger hunts on their walks. With schools closed and young children unable to see the friends and family members they might usually see, disappointment, confusion, and fear about the coronavirus have run high. However, neighborhood scavenger hunts for stuffed animals have helped connect communities and create smiles as children and families social distance.
You decide to approach one bear and say hello to him. He turns his head to you and smiles. “Hi, I’m Moon! Who are you?” “I’m Prudence,” you answer. There’s a poster beside him that is covered in stickers and reads in blue marker, “We send you love and safety!”
“Thank you for your poster,” you tell him, “I’ve seen more positivity, love, and outreach in this neighborhood now than I can ever remember there being before!” “You’re right,” Moon says, “I’ve loved getting to meet so many new friends.” “I have a bear at my house I can put in my window, if you’d like another friend,” you reply, “His name is Sun.” Moon jumps up and smiles. “I would love that! I can’t wait to meet him from across the street!” Press your hand to the glass and say goodbye.
Place Sun the bear in your glass window with a poster of his own. See Moon looking out from his window across the street to meet the new friend. No matter how many Suns and Moons may rise and fall this summer, know we are all connected from afar. Put a poster up in your window with an encouraging message. Draw a sidewalk chalk masterpiece in front of your home. Tie white ribbons around your trees and plants for healthcare and essential workers to see, and put a stuffed animal in your window for children to find. Go on a walk in your neighborhood as often as you can, reach out to your neighbors with any services you can offer, and may this summer be a long-needed exhale after our hard work and unprecedented spring semester.