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  • Rachel Anne Baer

Slowing Down

#slowingdown #livinginthemoment #pandemic #solitude #appreciation #nature


Since March of 2020 this has been the year to slow down, or even pretty much stop. By mid-March pretty much the whole of the country was shut down, unless you were an essential worker such as in healthcare, a grocery store employee or emergency services you were suddenly at home, workplaces were closed initially for just two weeks.


I remember thinking how long two weeks seemed to not be seeing my yogis & teaching classes. Now almost at the end of November two weeks seems like no time at all.

It seems incredible that so much time has passed & still here we are, adapting to our new way of life, I’m teaching yoga via Zoom, attending meetings the same way & even author’s book discussions I would never have driven hours to attend. Virtual trainings & workshops have opened up to us, suddenly there is no distance barrier for many events that would have been inaccessible pre Covid, although not the same for some events such as plays & concerts, they are far superior an experience in person, I really hope that libraries & other organizations continue a Zoom option for workshops & the like. When it’s dark & freezing cold at the end of the day, I am often too exhausted to leave my warm cozy home to attend an event, whereas I would welcome the opportunity to still learn through a webinar or live online event. I am hoping that this will be the way of future offerings.


Although my life slowed down my husband, now working from home, his workload increased. We purchased a new standing desk & a more comfortable chair, converting a section of our living room into a not so temporary office. He has been working crazy hours for months, I am proud to say that he is one of many hundreds of people working as tech support in Pfizer getting their Covid 19 vaccination submitted in record time. I am certain that no shortcuts have been taken, just many people, scientists, tech support & many others have been burning the candle not just at both ends but all the way through. At the time of writing this it is hoped that the first vaccines will be available in mid-December, just a few short weeks away, an incredible achievement.


Work for those in the Zoom & other online hosting services has increased enormously, I had used Zoom a couple of times pre Covid to attend a workshop, now I have my own account & Zoom is a household name. As well as yoga classes I have hosted regular family chats, amazing really considering that up to five of us have all been on different time zones, grateful for the technology that makes this possible.


We have all had to adapt in many ways this year, we have all had our losses & at the same time we have had gains. Our vacation was cancelled & we felt despondent, instead we bought two new to us kayaks & almost every weekend this summer & into fall we were out on the ocean exploring the local waterways. This was new to me, although I loved my old kayak I would only go out on the lakes for safety reasons, 2020 was the year to be brave in that department. I love spending time outside & paddling the waters seeing the wildlife, including ospreys nesting up close was magical.


Slowing down meant I had more time, creating beauty in the garden, planting new vegetable beds & sitting outside reading or just watching the birds. Perhaps because I was home more without as much of a routine I often stare out of the window, up at the moon as I am right now & marvel at how vast our universe is. During the day I spend ages enjoying watching the birds at our feeders, so many different varieties, we have always put food out but now I take the time to just watch & enjoy them, marveling at the colors & how adaptive they are to their environment. My cats watch along with me although I suspect they have ulterior motives, being indoor cats they have to be content with their dreams.


This year I would watch out the window as soon as it got light to see the pair of hawks living in a large nest across the road take flight, I got to know their cry as they soared above hunting for food & watched as the small birds would gang up on them, swooping down to dive bomb them high in the tress in an attempt to scare them away from their own nests. One afternoon in late summer I glanced up at our neighbor’s garage roof as I was out watering the plants, calling my husband to come quickly, there were five hawks on the roof, two larger, obviously the adult pair & their young fledglings, perhaps just on their first of many flights. What a moment of awe, despite all the fear & uncertainty in the world right now I feel privileged to have witnessed many little miracles of nature this year.


We have several bird houses & I was delighted to find that this spring they all had little families inside. One in particular I would watch each morning, sitting out on the deck with my coffee, as the young birds grew bigger, their chirping growing incredibly loud, they were amazing, I still feel incredibly fortunate to have witnessed them being there in our own back yard. The day I went outside & realized they had flown the nest I felt a deep sense of loss, I really missed them. Perhaps we will be lucky enough to enjoy being hosts to our royal guests next year, I hope so.


As the seasons change, I have watched a group of turkeys wander up & down our road & through our yard looking for acorns, of which we have plenty. If I wasn’t an unintentional early riser, I would have missed these moments, lifting my confused but excited cat up to the window to watch, he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to chase them or run away!


Recently two mornings in a row our yard was covered by what must have been hundreds of starlings. Again, it was just after dawn with a low fog hovering over the ground making the scene seem almost surreal. They must have been looking for an early morning meal before heading off on their journey.


I am sure I would have been aware of these moments pre pandemic, but I am also sure that I would not have slowed down enough to really appreciate & absorb the moment, seeing the magic in the small things that perhaps are really the big things. It really has been these moments that have made me appreciate life & what I have so much more. What will 2021 bring? I believe it will bring hope with vaccines available, a fresh start, less fear, a new year, new possibilities & I hope a new & lasting appreciation for what we have learned in our time of solitude. I would not have chosen the way this year played out but I have learned from it & I am grateful for the most part for my experiences.



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