Pretty much every year since I was born, I have dreaded summer. I grew up in Texas where you start sweating just thinking about going outside in July. In Texas, the seasons are hot summer, moderate summer, cool summer and moderate summer all over again. Texans sweat year round, even on Christmas.
Thatís a big reason why I wanted to live in Northwest Arkansas, because seasons exist here and we even have a bit of winter weather sometimes. Still, every year around June, it starts to heat up and I retreat indoors. This year has been a little different †Ė OK, a lot different.
Because of COVID-19, I have spent most of my free time indoors since March. Gideon and I have adapted our lifestyle for quarantine. We go to the grocery store once every two weeks like clockwork, exercise at home using workouts weíve found on Youtube and catch up with friends on the phone instead of visiting them.
Life is certainly slower now. Sometimes, it feels like thatís literally true. A part of my brain feels like itís still March and weíre getting ready for spring, even though we are well into summer. When I go out to get pictures for Eureka Springs Visitor or pick up meeting DVDs from Eureka Springs City Hall, I am reminded of the season.
Everything is so green and vibrant this time of the year. Thatís especially true if youíre driving down Highway 62 in either direction. Last week, I went on a drive to Inspiration Point to get some photos for the Visitor. The beauty of nature felt completely overwhelming. It was like I fell asleep in the winter and woke up to all this beautiful textured summer foliage.
The view from Inspiration Point was especially beautiful, with the White River flowing below. You can see so many trees, flowers, backroads and homes from that spot. Itís a great reminder of how small we are in the grand scheme of things. Nature envelops us and allows us to use resources that arenít ours. We cut down trees and make a place for ourselves in nature. We drive fast past the birds, bees and trees, rarely taking the time to slow down and enjoy nature for all it has given us.
If thereís any positive takeaway from the coronavirus pandemic, that has to be it. We have all learned what it means to change the way we live. We have seen that we can make difficult changes. We are moving slower with more purpose than before. Any other year, Iíd be writing a column about how I canít wait for summer to be over. Iíd say that itís too hot and humid and I just want it to be winter already.
My perspective has changed over the past few months. Thatís what happens when youíre forced to change the way you live †Ė inevitably, your mind changes, too. So this summer, Iím taking in the scenery. Iím still sweating, but with a smile on my face this time. We are all fortunate to be alive, and how lucky are we to be alive in a place as beautiful as Northwest Arkansas?
This week, Iím counting my blessings. I hope you are, too.