As Covid continues to affect our lives in ways big and small, it can feel difficult to find things to be thankful for. But here at Liz & Ellie Local, we like to look for the silver linings. Everyone has been impacted in some way by this virus: death, grief, economic hardship, and isolation have taken their toll on both body and soul. But many beautiful things have emerged, especially, for us, the relationships that have gotten us this far. In honor of Thanksgiving, we would like to share what we’re grateful for, in the hopes that you will both recognize yourselves in our sphere and be able to reflect on the bonds that have sustained you throughout this past year.
I am so grateful to have my team! Liz, Rebecca and Akilah keep me positive, focused, and connected. Meeting with my group of talented, professional, and strong women is empowering; I continually learn from them and I can’t believe it’s been over 5 years! I’ve also found friendships through Zoom, believe it or not. Because of Zoom, I was also able to take an international yoga teacher training class, where I formed friendships from all over the country (and overseas). Although connecting with people online presents a myriad of challenges, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity otherwise. Finally, one of my most valuable takeaways from the pandemic is that it’s really important to reset often: this includes taking a walk in the woods with my dog, people-watching from a park bench, or chatting outside with a neighbor or friend. Leaving home allows me to appreciate home, and all that it entails (other than the incoming bills)!
For almost two years now, we’ve been hearing the term “social distancing.” I much prefer to say “physical distancing,” not only because it’s more accurate but because it sends a very important message: we do not need to be socially isolated during this time. There are many ways we can connect with friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues. From outdoor gatherings around the fire pit or patio heater (by far the best purchase I made during Covid!); to Zoom cocktail hours that connect my East and West Coast family members in ways that hadn’t even occurred to us before; to walks “with” friends in other states over the phone; the creative solutions I’ve seen emerge from the pandemic are truly something for which to be thankful. One of my favorite “physical distancing” events was a spontaneous gathering the night President Biden was declared the winner. I wanted to share in the excitement and went for a walk in my neighborhood, where I came across a group of people who had brought champagne out to the sidewalk in front of their home. As the night wore on, more and more people joined us, and in the end we had a dance party. That never would have happened if we didn’t all have to be outside! So although there are clearly many reasons NOT to be thankful for Covid, there have been positive things that have emerged out of this period and I think it’s important to recognize them.
I am thankful for another year and deeper connections! As I continue to get further away from my college days and move through life, my personal circle has gotten smaller. I’ve lost touch with some friends and I’m no longer as close with others. Of course it’s hard to count fewer people in your friend circle, but I can appreciate the situation, as well. The pandemic pushed me to evaluate who my true friends are and which relationships are worth the effort. Thanks to this reevaluation I have found deeper, even more loving friendships with a select few people. As a result, we have helped each other through the past two years, which definitely have brought social isolation; but it’s also been a time of reconnection in the best of ways.
This year I give thanks for my neighborhood friendships. I moved from one part of my city to another last fall (yes, I was one of those “Covid buyers”) and I’ve found that my new neighborhood is brimming with kindness, positivity, and fun. We’re all outside a lot now, and I can expect to meet a new or old friend when I’m weeding in the front garden or strolling in the woods. In an effort to combat the isolation that comes with Covid, I now walk regularly with one or more friends, I hang out around bonfires in our various back yards, and I’ve started to take my daughter on “moon walks” with other families when the moon is full. The shared exhilaration of seeing that glowing ball in the night sky connects us to our planet and to each other. For me, the combination of being outdoors and experiencing the cycles of nature with other joyful people is medicine for a tired soul. Covid has taken so much from us, but it’s also given me true, solid friends.
On this Thanksgiving day, we at Liz & Ellie Local urge you to think about and appreciate your own supportive relationships. We also want to recognize that for many Americans, Thanksgiving is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Native people, the theft of Native lands, and the erasure of Native cultures. Many in our sphere will be attending National Day of Mourning events, either in person or online, like this one at Cole's Hill in Plymouth. However you observe Thanksgiving day, we hope it is meaningful and profound.