How are you? Have those three words been asked in a very different way during these almost 50 days. Really, how are you? We are all affected and in our own ways. Personally, I am trying to just notice. Notice a new reality unfolding under our masks and choosing to lift my gaze long enough to appreciate nature and our human nature. As we put on our masks and distance ourselves, seems like nature is taking the field, singing a stadium anthem and frolicking while we fear the many unknowns, and sit on the sidelines. 

Who is the home team as the birds chirp, the planes pause, the shops close, and the people stay home with hope and fear on a sliding scale? Big choices, to stay or go, mask or unmask, shop or sustain with what you already have at home. 

“And the people stayed home” (Kitty O’meara) while nature spread her virtual wings and reclaimed territory and precious resources of land, wind, water and sand. If you have been listening…. you may notice a collective pause in our world, a new world order where nature gets to reorder her priorities. 

I was out for a run, heading down past the Mt Auburn Cemetery, noticing the big steel gates locked. As eerie as it sounds, it seemed more peaceful inside those gates. No one walking, avoiding one another, or masking inside those big gates, only sounds of nature.

I ran toward the water, the Charles River, wondering if I would have to stay on the side of the street where no one else would go. Would I change my decision based on how many are masked, observing the distance, keeping to themselves? Should I choose the path less travelled? I did, and still do choosing -eye contact, a reassuring smile, and honoring the distance and reality that we cannot pretend to know what each of us are struggling with. No one could have predicted feelings of isolation, confusion and despair. Choices of what to avoid and where.

As I crossed the street to run on the vacant path by the cemetery, a bird I passed captured my attention. While I was running …that bird didn’t  move out of my way…just stood there, and I noticed. I was struck with a sense of “good for you”, and thought to myself, this is different. A shift has occurred, and there are two teams emerging: Hope and Fear. Man and Nature, You and your Nature and a new world order. 

While we are sidelined here, nature is taking its rightful place on the stage of life. This giant stadium and football field of life where we can no longer buy a ticket, choose a team and walk through those doors and choose our seat. We are all in this together and on the same team while nature takes the field and we stay home hopefully becoming bigger fans of life.

Nature is open for business and begging for our patronage. We are weeks in now, trying to sort our priorities and step aside while a virus teaches us “virtually” everything:

Wash your hands, cover your mouth, wait your turn, take your time, choose who to spend your time with, work or play, go or stay. 

The most powerful part of this new world order is choice for that which is bigger than you. That which you cannot control, that which has no clear diagnosis or remedy. No vaccine to come clean of greed, self interest, and that which is not sustainable. See more green, hear less traffic, notice those white coats and scrubs saving lives? Order less on Amazon, appreciate being able to just get food and take notice of the elderly and more fragile? Corona – more than a virus. Six feet between you and me, to prioritize health and well being, support the entire planet, and choose a long term solution over personal whims and desires.

Constants in life…change, choices, consequences. Choose wisely my friends.

Stay home, smell the flowers, grow your garden rich in nutrients and self sustaining soil… So you can feed your family, share with your neighbor, and grow the precious and life sustaining resource we call hope. 

Donna Ognibene is a has been described as a world class master trainer, passionate teacher, creative innovator and community advocate. While she is all that, her natural talent is in bringing out the best in people.