EDITOR’S NOTE: We have been conducting an unofficial survey of folks the last few weeks about this vary topic, “Doesn’t it seem to be another level of ‘busy’ this year? Is it because we are more aware of the hordes of people because of the coronavirus, and that they aren’t ‘supposed’ to be here?” And, yes, we can agree and understand the healing power of our natural environment, but the visitors are from EVERYWHERE … not just neighboring Western states. So, as Neal suggests, it is time for local residents to “chill out” and remember to allow extra time for errands, go early and please drive carefully and be patient. We are lucky to live here, and they are just visiting.
By Neal Lemery
Several family members and friends have recently urged me to chill out and take a break.
Maybe they felt it necessary to speak out, after I came back from the store, raving about how crowded the store was, how the tourists are everywhere, and it takes “forever” to get anywhere. More likely, they were just tired of my rants and watching me “go off” on yet another topic.
I’m usually pretty mellow, but months of staying home, being appropriately “distanced”, and avoiding groups of unmasked people having fun has been wearing on me and my normal good nature. Just like everyone else, huh?
I’m reminded that the calendar says “August” now and summer on the Oregon coast means lots of traffic. People come here to enjoy our beautiful scenery, and to find their own peace and quiet, to be renewed, and “re-create” in the true meaning of that word. In this pandemic time, that need for some tranquility and reconnection with nature is on the “want list” of all of us.
August is the high tide of tourist season anyway, and I should expect the roads to be filled with people traveling through here in their “bubble of oblivion”, taking over my favorite places and familiar roads.
This year of pandemic madness has ratcheted all that up a couple of notches, making me more cantankerous than usual. Maybe I do need to chill out.
I retreat to my comfortable rocking chair overlooking the garden, to sip my coffee from my favorite coffee shop. It was an indulgence, after surviving the checkout line. After visiting my favorite barista, I sat for twenty minutes, waiting for the traffic to clear enough that I could get in line on Highway 101. I just wanted to get home with my groceries and my coffee, and not have to deal with everyone. Venturing out these days brings out the worst in me.
The birds and the flowers weren’t in a rush. They didn’t care about the traffic, or whether I might not be able to find a parking spot at my favorite beach. They weren’t into personal distancing or the daily tally of Covid cases that comes into my e-mail box every day, just about the time I’m sipping my adult beverage.
Instead, they were just being themselves, enjoying the moment, making the garden beautiful. The birds sang of serenity and their daily routines, and the flowers showed off their summer splendor, colorful, a place of hospitality for all the bees.
I can also enjoy the silence of the fog coming in the evening, the occasional gift of some morning mist, and the brilliance of the sunset or the silver moonrise over the green hills.
I remind myself that I take all this for granted, that I live in this paradise, and that the tourists will eventually go home. They will be refreshed and enlivened, and will have found some respite in their lives from these challenging time.
Now that I’ve calmed down, I can relate to my fellow humans. I realize again we can be hospitable, we can be welcoming here, and help others enjoy the beauty and peace that is the essence of this place. We can offer that sense of tranquility and awe, and simply be thankful for our lives and our commonality.