Guest Writer Lace Lawrence, Washington
What Can Be: Collective Connection
Self-Isolation. Social Distancing. Trails Closed. Life Stopped.
This is what I keep hearing. What is being pushed out by the news, social media, and every email I receive.
Here in Washington, we are under a “Stay at Home Order” so I am staying home. We are out past the Burbs of Seattle, in the small town of Fall City. We chose this place because nature and trails surround us. We gave up delivery and a full-sized local grocery story to have it, but I don’t regret it. Especially not right now.
I am rattling around in my four-bedroom, two story home spending most of my time in the Kitchen or my home office. Getting out for runs on the trails behind my house, as much as the weather will allow. I work remote so this is not out of the ordinary for me. However, my partner, Nick, is also working from home. So that makes a house of two humans and two dogs, Trooper and Tokul. This is nothing new for us, though. In fact, this feels downright spacious.
In December, my little family and I returned from spending six months on the road in a 24’ trailer. We spent weeks off grid and a good portion of days choosing to live in the even smaller confines of a three-man tent. We met new people all the time but didn’t see our friends or family for months on end. In a way we are already social distancing champs.
While on that trip, we discovered a lot of things about ourselves, our world, and our needs. We left home with very little planned and no idea what the trip would bring. We were along for the ride, a lot like all of us with this virus.
As we went, we discovered what we wanted our life back home to look like. We wanted to spend more time with our friends and loved ones even if it meant doing a lot less “epic shit,” in the outdoors. We wanted to slow down and enjoy our own community more. We made plans to eat at our local restaurants, BBQ at the little river beach in our town, support local artist and musicians, and eat from our own garden. We promised each other we wouldn’t return to a life of constant commuting and a culture of being busy.
As I watch this virus unfold, I can’t help but feel like the collective We is getting forced to examine life the way we chose to on our trip. We are resetting as a society and hopefully reevaluating what is important.
As I watch seed companies sell out, Facebook groups blow up with support for local businesses, live artist streams hosting hundreds of participants, and people exploring and finding joy in their own backyards and local green spaces; I can’t help but smile.
When life slows down and you start to look at what’s important, we all seem to want the same things—local businesses, homegrown food, accessible music and art, nature out our backdoor, and a community we are connected to.
The world needs more connection.
Connection to the community we live in.
Connection the Earth and the food it gives us.
Connection to the stories and art in our neighborhoods.
Connection to each other.
My hope is that society is having a collective undoing of the selfishness and competitiveness that drives us to feel like we need to be going places and doing epic things to be “living.”
This pandemic can bring us not just closer together but closer to ourselves. From there, my hope is that we rise up and demand what we know we need for ourselves and our community. No longer accepting that “success” and the “status quo” is a life of constant commuting and a culture of being busy.