(By Paolo Propato, LAC) The past is the earth from which the future grows.
My own experience of the past year began with our acupuncture clinic closing, and suddenly spending time at home with an uncertain future. The first week was driven by fear, with the neighbors leaving bags of groceries outside their houses to decontaminate. We were constantly on the phone with family and friends in Iran and Italy to get updates, knowing we were only a week or two behind.
After a few weeks into lockdown, almost every neighbor was jogging or walking outside, and we all spoke from the other side of the street. The news reports gripped us with anxiety, but we would also laugh as we pulled weeds from the flower beds behind our townhome community.
I learned to substitute holding hands with only a look from a distance, and grieved with those that had lost loved ones or had been overwhelmed by fear of the unknown.
Slowly our clinic re-opened, with many changes to maximize safety. Seeing patients, many of whom feel like friends, brought back a sense of the normal even though the community acupuncture and meditation groups were (and still are) greatly missed.
The year continued to unfold. Groceries were no longer left outside and when out doing errands, fear began taking a back seat to caution. The younger neighbors on our street began checking in on the elderly to make sure their needs were met.
In the fall I decided to enroll in grad school for advanced certification for Chinese herbology, something I’ve always hoped to do. Being fixed in place due to COVID, plus the availability of remote classroom options, provided options that helped to catalyze this dream, something I wouldn’t have made time for before as a “busy professional with a family.”
As the fall went on, a major test of the kids’ sanity arrived: Halloween. All of us parents at my son’s school put our heads together. We ended up with tables set up on someone’s property, spaced out, and the kids went table to table trick-or-treating. This creativity gave the kids a special community experience, and they actually had a blast-- possibly the best Halloween they ever had.
The first big snow had Hansell Park full of kids, all being responsible and spaced out with their sleds. Kids were flying off handmade snow ramps and parents were worrying about simple things like, “This kid’s gonna break his leg.” During the snowstorms it felt like the pandemic was gone, even for only a short while.
During all that time, I was diving deep into my herbal studies, and Grace was laying the groundwork for Bridge’s new home to come, something that may not have been possible without staying deeply in place during the past year.
That brings us to the present. A year ago we were closed down with no concept about our future; to almost completing a year of herbal grad school and soon moving to a new, expanded office.
Today walking into work, there were signs of life coming back into the surrounding flower beds and I thought of this community, my neighbors, my son's school, our patients, friends, this town. We may get hit by setbacks, wind and snow, but we come back. Like those perennials that come back again and again, it is our nature to bloom.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.