Having just planted some bulbs for summer flowers over the weekend and having just admired the bright blooming spring tulips from the bulbs I planted last fall, I commented to my husband, “I haven’t seen any bunny rabbits around yet this year.” (It’s important to note that bunny rabbits and the groundhog are our garden’s predators. We don’t have deer this close to the river.) Less than 24 hours after I said I hadn’t seen a rabbit one got under the fence in the garden. He took off before I made it out there to chase him away. Just as I’m writing this, a brazen bunny rabbit, the same one or a relative, came close to my sliding glass door, sniffing around my rock garden so I have to admit–I spoke too soon. 

Given that the weather forecast is for snow tomorrow, bunny rabbits aren’t the only enemy my plants may need protection from. I’m covering or bringing in what I can, but I still haven’t gotten used to the idea that we’re rushing the season here in Pittsburgh if we plant before the middle of May. Hard not to rush the season, especially after such a long snowy winter and a much longer stay-at-home quarantine. 

The people I see on-line in classes and meetings are trying to reemerge as I am and feel as uncertain as I do about what that should look like. The ups and downs of the virus counts in communities across the nation and the world, seem as unpredictable as our Pennsylvania weather. Those of us who have had our vaccinations thought we’d have more choices than what seems wise to exercise. Our non-profit InterPlay Pittsburgh has sponsored a couple of events in a park, (masked and social distanced) and that seems like what freedom is going to look like for a while.  
I thought about what it has meant to exercise choice during the pandemic and now reemerging from it. We exercise choice when we say yes to some things and no to others. During the year at home, I’ve said yes to many things I didn’t have time to do or didn’t take the time to do previously. Hard to imagine I would enjoy gardening so much, and cooking so often and making bread? Who is this person I’ve become?  

I’ve said no to things I always loved to do like travel, and in person dance and yoga classes, and I’ve said yes to hiking in the woods with my trekking poles and watching exquisite documentaries on Netflix. As I’ve paid attention to what will grow in my garden, I’ve become connected on-line to people and organizations all over the world working for social and environmental justice and an end to systemic racism. The news from the trial in Minnesota confirms that we are not who we were individually and collectively and that the terrain that needs our protection is wider and broader than previously imagined.

As I begin scheduling future events, I’m cautioning myself not to rush the season but to honor the uncertainty in myself and the uncertainty surrounding us all. Some of what is emerging may not be what we expected or what used to grow here, but a hybrid as yet unnamed and unknown.