Responses from our readers
Last week we challenged readers to send us their take on 2020.
We got a few takers...
Beth Keloneva spoke to an activity many have embraced since the pandemic:
“What comes to mind for me is my hiking. I was able to hike 100 miles, as part of the North Country Trail hike 100 Challenge. I got my patch and certificate. I am 65 years old and accomplished the miles 2-3 at a time on the trails nearby.”
For Sandy Thomas it was time to take a leap:
So I had been on the fence for a couple of years about retirement. When covid hit it actually pushed me right off that fence! My husband has some serious health issues. The previous fall we bought a camper and some property on the river, so I decided now was the time to start relaxing and enjoying life! One of the best decisions I ever made.
Jeremiah Eckert found the year to be pretty productive:
2020 was a good year. I woke up every morning and went to work every morning except on Sundays worked with some good people and made some friends. 2020 wasn't that bad.
And that was pretty much it.
Then we received this missive from our gardening guru Donna (Hands in the Dirt) Iverson.
And we found it to be as enlightening as her perpetually pleasing articles on the gardening life.
Reflections on 2020
While much of the focus this past year has been on masks, my experience of 2020 has been more about isolation. (Full disclosure: I am a mask wearer)
Isolation probably comes easier for me than most. I’m an introvert and have always sought solitude. Since childhood, I dreaded large family get-togethers, avoided large crowds, and generally kept to myself. Growing up, I preferred to explore the fields and woods around my grandparents' Whitehall farm than playing group games or sports in my suburban neighborhood.
But in the last year, I have learned more about the gifts of solitude than a lifetime has taught me.
Since March, my daily walks have taken on a new importance as a way to de-stress, ground and connect to nature. More and more, I gravitate toward quiet places, with trees and views of Muskegon Lake. A lifelong tree hugger, I found a new appreciation for trees after reading a book called the Secret Life of Trees. The author describes how trees are connected by their root systems and offer each vital nutrients especially their weaker neighbors. A lesson I take to heart.
While I never jumped onto the sourdough bread craze as I am a mediocre cook, I have been cooking weekly trays of corn muffins. I’m guessing that corn muffins were a frontier food and I’m drawn to basic foods like muffins. I bought a book called cooking with cast iron which offers recipes like grilled cheese, homemade tomato soup and baked apples. Food I never seem to tire of.
Books and videos
During the pandemic I have discovered the Michigan author Joseph Haywood, who writes mysteries that take place in the woods of the Upper Peninsula. His detective, conservation officer Grady Service, hunts down poachers and other criminal types in books like Ice Hunter and Blue Wolf in Green Fire. I discovered this author after reading a NYT article reporting that Haywood was on our governor’s bookshelf. And a shout out to all the public library people who offer friendly smiles and service during a pandemic.
Even though I’m an introvert and seek solicitude, I have learned to acknowledge my need for community and support. When I have reached out to family or friends and asked for help (which I am loath to do ), I have been met with generosity and kindness. As I do not have a car, a cousin took me to an emergency dental appointment and another cousin to the vet to get my cat’s shots. A Facebook friend offered me a ride if I should ever need one and showed up to help with an errand when the sidewalks turned icy. A credit union teller offered me a bottle of water when I said I was feeling faint. I hope to return these favors in whatever way I am able and am grateful that a virus that threatens to drive us apart may, in fact, be pulling us closer together
First, let me say, I dislike ZOOM. But in the last few months, I have kept in contact with my three brothers (two of whom live in California and one in Saugatuck) with ZOOM meetings, and I have to say, despite the artificiality of staring at each other, I have enjoyed the camaraderie it offers.
And last but not least is my community garden, where I spent many an hour in Spring, Summer and Fall. Growing things, foraging food, and playing in the dirt has always nourished my soul. And this year, more than ever. When the cold rolled in, I put together my first windowsill garden, composed of three aloe plants. They are green and growing and remind me of better times ahead. A happier new year everyone. Peace, joy, love and light.
Thank you Ms. I.
And thanks to all who either sent us their thoughts, or were inspired to reflect on the year in a privately positive manner.
We hope a similar endeavor next year will be a little easier when it comes to finding the high points of the 12 month run.
Letter to the Editor Policy
Near North Now welcomes original letters from readers on current topics of general interest. Simply fill out the form below. Letters submissions are limited to 300 words.