What a month March was for me. I lost a week to sickness - not COVID, but a ﬂu. Like I couldn’t lift my head from the pillow and slept 20 hours a day type of ﬂu. But when I ﬁnally felt better I seemed to view the world just a little bit differently. What does this have to do with homes, you may be asking? I’m really not sure yet, so you’ll have to just bear with me.
In my heart, I’ve always disliked early spring. The trees are still bear, the ground is soggy, the weather is unpredictable, and yeesh do I struggle with what to wear. Do I haul out my summer stuff? Or just roll up a pair of khakis? Either way I’m revealing disturbing strips of mottled pink skin that don’t seem at all ready for the warm weather. I’ve even turned a hard eye to those poor plants struggling to poke their way through the earth. “Just hurry up and grow already,” I grumble to myself. Wisely, I’ve learned not to express these sentiments out loud. I go ahead and join the crowd and agree that the weather is ﬁne. No, I mean great! But in reality, I’m just punching the clock and waiting for late spring to arrive. It’s a much more stable environment.
But this year is different. Part of it is the collective relief on the horizon that comes with the COVID vaccines. It was not an easy winter. COVID was an equal-opportunity menace that managed to take something from all of us in heartbreakingly different ways. It left some of us with the loss of loved ones. For others, acute loneliness, or the loss of experiences - graduations, weddings, travel, jobs, opportunities, income. But here we are now. Collectively, we are all survivors and together we are seeing that glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been so long, I have to blink and squint to adjust to the hopefulness and promise that it represents. I know life won’t ever be exactly the same. But that light is the birth of something, and I’m so tired of COVID being the death of something.
And with that, suddenly I’m like the Grinch that ﬁnally felt his heart swell so much that it broke out of its cage. I’m like a walking Hallmark movie. My health is back and with COVID still here I swear I will never take feeling healthy for granted again. My eyes can well up just watching toddlers toddle, or when witnessing the simplest acts of kindness. And yes, I’m even rooting for those tulip bulbs that are starting to erupt around me. I’m listening to musicians that I loved in high school and I’m ﬁnding freshness and new meaning there. (How did I ever miss Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks? Van, I never really knew you!) My outlook? It’s all bathed in rainbows and glitter-glue and trite aphorisms like, “Have a great day!” I could cry over the simplicity and the beauty of all of it. My kids would say I’m suffering from “too many feels.” And they might be right, but I’m too deep in to go back now.
One more story and then I promise I’ll say something about houses. I had an invitation from my oldest friend to join her in Florida for three days—which was hard to pull off, but I’m so glad I did. We were staying in a two-storey hotel on one of those intra-coastal waterways that Florida is riddled with. And while my friend was napping, I took the kayak out for a sunset paddle. The waterways were still and quiet, so I didn’t mind paddling back as evening fell. I took a moment to just listen, my paddle on my lap, my head back to look up at the moon when I heard my ﬁrst forceful spurt and then noticed the ripples in the water. There was another to my left, and then again to my right. I was being escorted by a family of four or ﬁve dolphins. They were crisscrossing around me, their crescent shapes taking powerful inhales as they came up and then down again in the same smooth motion. One was a baby. And quiet like a mouse, I paddled right along with them. I’m so grateful that I had my new Hallmark goggles on, because I didn’t miss a moment of its magic, and I really needed it. My heart had been heavy all day. It was exactly two years ago to the day that my marriage imploded on a very average Sunday. And here I was surrounded by these wonders of nature breathing their inhales of re-birth all around me. That’s my story, and I couldn’t help but share it, but we all have our own.
Ok, ok, homes!!! Let’s see… what are we in the middle of? Yard cleanups and dragging the outdoor furniture out of the garage. Breaking out the fire pit again and taking long walks outside. Some of us are thinking about boats, some are thinking about gardens, and some just want to feel the sun against their skin. And it’s all good stuff, so go for it! Carry on! They are all the harbingers of a not-so-distant future where we humans interact with one another with ease. Maybe even without masks, they say. It’s such simple, beautiful, heart wrenchingly poignant, sweet stuff. You’ll see. Just put on the right glasses and you’ll have too many feels too, just like me.
Jennifer Coles is a local interior designer. Her instagram is: @coles_color_and_design. Her website is: colescoloranddesign.com