Potential for Kindness

We are asked to wear face covers when we go out in public, to stay six-feet apart, and to wash our hands frequently to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The face covers we wear are, for the most part, homemade, to leave the medical grade masks for those at the front line. The face covers are to protect others, just in case we are unknowing carriers of the disease. It's a kindness, one of many we can do for each other. It's as if we could only eat if we feed each other, and so we want to be attentive, gentle, and caring about how we do it.

As artists and writers we are unusually attentive to the world anyway, but this moment makes us acutely aware of the details of how we socially interact. We have choices in how we want to live as human beings and what kind of leaders we want in the future. And we have tiny ways of showing each other that we care.

A block from us, a neighbor has been growing an exquisite garden to delight us all for years. People stop to talk with her and take pictures all the time, but I think now especially. Her peonies are beginning to bloom.

On my walks I've noticed rainbows drawn on the sidewalks,  rainbows in the windows, teddy bears, and chalk drawings on the sidewalk. These rainbows were from March 19.

Up the hill, a teddy bear in a truck.

And a whole street lined with art recreations today, the day after Easter. Here are two I particularly liked.

The rainbows and hearts in windows idea spread has across social media since mid-March as something kids and parents can do together, a way to connect with one another and cheer other children who might see them as they walk by.

It cheers me to see it all. When we think there isn't anything we can do, we can think again. One little kindness, one piece of art in the window, one picture postcard sent to a friend can have an effect. And when one person is cheered, that person is more likely to do a kindness for someone else, who continues the good will toward another.

My friend Val kindly brought me a tomato plant. I look forward to the little red "Baby Boomer" tomatoes. (Yes, that is the name.)

My former colleague, Jack Ford, sent me an alphabet book of birds from 1916. Quite wonderful graphics.

Amy Spencer, a reader, sent me a beautiful little sashiko-stitched book weight. There is something magical about it, and the weight is comforting in my hand like a small, content being.

Sharing little expressions of art and nature. Waving at everyone as we cross paths. Little kindnesses to help us get through the staggering sadness. I hope that this kind of kindness becomes built into the culture and continues on the other side. Thank you for reading.


nutmeg said…
Thank you for sharing! The peonies are glorious and that bird book looks amazing. Be well.
Alisa said…
nutmeg—I had heard that people went wild over peonies but didn't understand why until I had seen them begin to bloom. Some purple ones are starting now; I may have to post those as well. Thanks for reading! Take care!
Amy said…
What a lovely post and I am honored my little book weight is included <3 I'm so glad you like it!
Alisa said…
Thanks again, Amy. Some paper mail is headed your way, if not already there yet.
Amy said…
I got it yesterday - thank you for returning kindness with kindness <3 <3 <3 I can't remember if I told you what I used as filler, but it is stainless steel (in case you are worried about lead). Here's a link, for the curious - https://www.ebay.com/itm/3-95-lb-OUT-OF-SPEC-Stainless-Steel-Tumbling-Media-Pins-047-x-Vary-Length/182950738421
Alisa said…
Thanks, Amy. Good link to know for future!
Amy said…
You're' welcome!