I am not a homebody. I like to be out, traveling around visiting fun and beautiful places whenever I can, camera in hand. I like to head to the beach or to a state park to wander around the trails. I like to visit friends and family. I like to do almost anything except sit in my house, especially when warm weather arrives.
My husband, on the other hand, would be happy to stay home seven days a week. He likes to putter in the garage. He likes to watch movies. He loves to organize his toolbox. He ventures out to work and to run errands, and when I force him to socialize.
These days…we are living his dream. We are trying to do errands only when necessary, and early in the day when most people aren’t out and about. We hand sanitize and wash our hands like it’s our job (which, frankly, it is right now). We have been on some drives but only get out of our cars if there aren’t crowds around. We have avoided popular places like Popham Beach (my absolute favorite beach).
I have a lot of extra time on my hands, so not being able to visit beautiful places to photograph has been difficult. I did manage to get out over the weekend, to places where either I was there totally alone, or there were less than five people there, and we all kept more distance between us than usual.
But, now that reports are coming in that people are crowding local beaches and hiking trails, I have decided that even if I think I will be the only one visiting a location, I will stay home. I will not risk my health or the health of others just because I am feeling slightly stir crazy at home.
When I was in Girl Scouts, my troop leader had us try to spell the word “responsibility” each week until we were successful. And then we were encouraged to live that word, which I still spell with the same cadence as I did more than 40 years ago…”r-e-S—p-o-n-S—I-b-I-l-I-t-Y.”
Not only did I learn to spell the word, but I have tried to live that word throughout my life. Right now, I feel like THIS is the time that we all need to be as responsible as we can, even when it is tough or seems like an inconvenience. The sooner we can all stay home and “flatten the curve,” hopefully, the sooner we can all go enjoy a meal at our favorite dine-in local restaurant. The sooner we can all enjoy a walk on Popham Beach. The sooner we can hug our parents and friends who don’t live with us.
So, one of the ways that I am finding some calm in this COVID-19 storm is to look for ways to enjoy my hobbies at home. I am reading more books. I have always loved to read. And, I am going to head to my backyard to search for signs of spring, with my camera in hand.
A few years ago, I did just that. I wandered out back to photograph nature up close. I have a file on my computer at home (where I am typing this post) full of beautiful photos of nature in my backyard. I also have photos of birds and other wildlife taken from inside, looking out my windows. I have photos from all seasons.
There is beauty everywhere, and I encourage you to go out and find it in your own yard, away from the crowds. Look for buds on trees. Look for green grass sprouting up. I know we have some snow coming tonight, but it will melt more quickly than a winter storm – so go out today before the snow to look for signs of spring. Tomorrow, go out IN the snow and look for wildlife tracks (we had coyotes and a snowshoe hare leave lots of tracks in our backyard this winter). Then share your photos with us. Send a description of your photo, where it was taken, and anything else you think we should know about it.
Let’s see if we can hear from all 16 counties. Photos MUST be taken from your home or in your yard. Let’s call it: “Respond-sibility.” We are responding responsibly to the request that we all keep our social distance from each other. But we don’t have to keep our distance from the beauty of nature in our own piece of this beautiful state of Maine.
Whenever this is all over…I’ll see you at Popham.
—Beth Comeau, NRCM Communications Manager