On some level, I knew we were not out of the pandemic woods here in Nova Scotia. There is too much traffic in and out to think that the mayhem of out west would not eventually come across our borders too. Yet, I’ll admit it was a bit of a blow to find out yesterday afternoon that we were headed back into a four week lockdown. Gathering limits set at five, total, period, inside or out. Churches closed again, no funerals/weddings, etc…It was an invocation of the litany of measures known the world-wide.
That said, it was mentioned specifically that this time around, the outdoor green spaces would remain open. According to my heart’s interpretive dictionary, ‘outdoor green spaces’ translates into The Halifax Public Gardens. Off I went this morning, having already been in touch last evening with the guests who thought they were coming to Barat Spirituality Centre today. I took a picture of magnolia buds the other day and wondered how far along things now were. As such, I set a diagonal course to my wander, checking in with the Victorian statue of Flora (still missing her hand, though someone in the fall apparently skewered the exposed steel rod with a gourd that still remains) and taking note of the bumper crop of ducks and chipmunks, as well as the delicate purple wildflowers strewn among the blades of grass.
Once I got closer to the stand of magnolias, I noticed another woman taking pictures. From a respectably healthy social distance I said—‘Good morning! I came to see how far along they were, compared to the other day.’ She said “I’m here because the news is depressing and too much and I need to remember beauty.” I mentioned that I’d sifted out ingredients for biscuits before leaving and would return to bake up a batch while working on some translations. “Ha! I get the good of that…,” She said, heading into a story about being a former pastry chef who had baked her way through chemo when being diagnosed with cancer. This led us down the path of other things we’d cooked or baked during the pandemic and suggestions for cookbooks to read, podcasts to listen to, and how to stay aware of all happening in the world without becoming overwhelmed at the breakneck speed with which things sometimes seem headed toward hell while piled in a proverbial hand-basket.
As we were each gearing up to head off once again, I simply said “I’m so glad you were overwhelmed and came here to find peace.” She looked at me and said, “I’m so glad you brought joy with you on your walk.”
Let there be no doubt about the good of public green spaces…the good of sometimes (sensibly) risking a word to a stranger…and that the hand-basket can veer off somewhere with a far more beautiful vista if we lean together. And, even better if there are biscuits to share.