The day before yesterday I went over to my neighbor’s house to do a quick check on her since she lives alone. I brought her some of my “world-famous locally” stuffed bell peppers and found her outside doing a bit of gardening. We chatted in the fresh air for a moment or two, and I saw out of the corner of my eye two tiny hummingbirds darting in and out of her huge tree, which was radiant with autumn colored leaves. I stood there watching, as did she, in absolute awe of these tiny creatures spending their days flying freely about without much concern about the goings on of the world.
After I returned to my house, I checked our bird feeders to see if perhaps some of her flock wandered over here, and low and behold, we also had two visitors. These magnificent forces of nature that not only defy gravity with their tiny wings, have lightning speed as they go from the tree to the feeder and back again. It occurred to me that just the smallest bit of joy can turn my whole day around and appreciating a bit of nature for a few minutes can soothe my own ruffled feathers!
Tensions are high, not only here but all around the world. The news has been more than grim with numbers soaring from this awful pandemic and the by-products of its wrath. Everyone is affected in some way or another, whether it is directly from the virus, knowing someone who is, or feeling cabin fever knowing it is safer for us as seniors to remain inside as much as possible and stay diligent in protocols for a bit more time to come. Financial stress is also a major factor as many are feeling that pressure. Depression and loneliness can take as much of a toll on our health as physical illness.
Many of us spent a very unusual Thanksgiving, and the rest of this holiday season will be pretty similar. Every year for the last 38 years, Grandpa and I have hosted our big Christmas Eve dinner party. Friends and family of over 20 people ate a hearty dinner, opened presents, hugged each other and laughed at the white elephant exchange, but this year will be a different story. We will Zoom and send love over the airways so that next year there won’t be any missing faces. I am okay with that. There is hope on the horizon, and this optimist is totally on board.
Many of my peer group and neighbors here in Summerset live alone. We should make sure those nearby are stocked up with plenty of food and well wishes from a friendly face smiling behind a mask.
There is help for anyone at www.cchealth.org where there is information and assistance 24/7. If you are feeling like you are experiencing an emotional crisis or just need some support, the hotline for an experienced counselor is 888-678-7277. For those who need language interpretation services, it is best to call during business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) week days for the quickest service. Dialing 211 is a free, confidential referral and information helpline and website that connects people of all ages and from all communities to the essential health and human services they need, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It can be accessed by phone or computer. These tools for help are there for everyone.
If I could fly like those hummingbirds for a day, I would. Seeing those tiny birds for even a few minutes took some anxiety away for me. But for now, Grandpa and I are staying inside most of the time. We go out for essentials and are looking forward to the day when the house is filled up again with laughter and loved ones. Stay safe and well, wear your masks for you and for others, follow the science and protocols for keeping healthy and know that there is help anytime that you need it.
Marla Luckhardt is a Brentwood resident who works with several local senior care and advocacy groups. Reach her at email@example.com.