In what used to be normal life, I wore a watch every day. Analog, with a black leather strap, it sat on my left wrist as a part of an unofficial uniform, keeping me on track, helping me avoid the habit of whipping out my phone whenever I needed to check the time. I wore it every work day, without fail, and on the rare occasion I rushed out of the door without putting it on, I felt off for the remainder of the day.
I haven’t put that watch on since March, though. I saw it sitting on my shelf this morning and was struck with a sense of awareness for how much has changed in the last few months. Who knows if we’ll get back to that way of living; who knows if we even should.
I’ve been quiet on my blog over the last several weeks because I’ve been immersed in this experience of living. My life has changed in ways that I didn’t quite expect at the beginning of the year, and I’ve been absorbing those changes. Some of those are related to COVID-19, and some are not. I’m still making sense of it all.
I’ve also been quiet in these many weeks because as a white woman, it seems that this is a time for listening. While there is of course value in seeing the beauty around me, particularly in nature, my posts started feeling simplistic, ignorant. Sometimes I’ve been hesitant to write my opinions in this space because I’ve worried about some backlash; more often than not, I’ve worried about people who are close to me, especially those in my family, revolting against opinions that they find too liberal. I’ve always been outspoken in person, though, and so I recognize that needs to change here, too.
As I figure that out, I see too that I need to become more educated on topics of race and inequality. I worked consciously a couple of years ago to diversify my reading material, in particular to learn more about the Black experience that my years in public school, and then years in college and graduate school, glossed over. I became a better ally through that, and it feels imperative to be diving into my own education once again. I’m starting with two books: White Fragility, by Robin DiAngelo, and Stamped from the Beginning, by Ibram X. Kendi. I do believe that I have to become part of the solution in understanding and addressing systematic racism; otherwise, I am condoning it. I don’t want to do that anymore.
This blog will certainly continue to be a place of travel – once that can happen again – and observations about life. It will continue to highlight pictures of flowers and clouds, the pieces of nature that bring me back to myself wherever I am and whatever is happening around me, the moments when I notice blossoms that will one day be blackberries and feel flooded with hope. But it needs to also evolve to acknowledge that life is more than that, and that my life has changed in the past three months. I’m not sure what that will look like – I don’t know, you might say, if I’ll ever put my watch back on my wrist – but I’ll be working to figure it out.
In the meantime, as always, I hope you’re well, I hope you’re healthy, I hope that you are looking towards the future with optimism and hope. I hope that you’re acting in the ways that help the world understand who you are and what’s important to you. From my corner of California, I wish you all the best.