Well, I guess this goes without saying, but the world is not the same as it was a few weeks ago. We've all had to change our daily routines: how we leave the house, how we run errands, how we work, how our kids learn. Change is stressful enough, even when it's expected and of our own volition. Now, here we are, thrust into a new normal. We didn't ask for this, and we didn't see it coming. We're being mandated on state and federal levels to change our ways of being. We cannot visit our loved ones. We cannot hug and touch. This causes immense stress to our body, mind, and soul. We have to actively avoid news outlets if we want to escape the constant release of statistics, documenting how many more people are confirmed positive, and how many more people have died.
We all respond to stressors differently, and particularly in unprecedented situations such as these, there is no correct way to react. I spent the first few days upset at all of the experiences I had planned that now needed to be canceled. I was disappointed that parts of my job were now on hiatus. But as the circumstances sunk in, I began to change my tune. I'm better off leading with compassion for others, and care for myself. With all the negativity flying around, I needed to be strong.
I had big plans for The Hiking Harpist this year. Plans that included new ventures, travel, and opportunities. I could sit around dwelling on what isn't, or I can focus on what I still have. When I first began hiking with my harp, I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted out of the experience. The project ended up taking on a life of its own, bringing a new depth of peace into the already tranquil natural environment. The more people I've met and the more music I played, I discovered that the real beauty of The Hiking Harpist lies in its ability to evoke emotion and connect others. I could think of no better time than to tap into the root of this project, and try to spread love and comfort in the best way I know how.
So, as the days became warmer and springtime graced New England, I set out to the North Shore of Massachusetts with my harp. I went to one of my favorite parks, Halibut Point State Park in Rockport. At first glance, it seemed like any normal spring day. Lots of people walking around, enjoying the weather. The ocean was blue and the sun shining bright. Families were getting fresh air with their children, who laughed and played. But the beaming sun can't shut out the dark cloud that was hanging over our heads. Closer observation showed families gathering in clusters, staying far away from strangers. Hushed chatter brought up the topics of stay-at-home orders, sanitization, and worry. I unpacked and tuned up, hoping for my harp to work its magic the way I've seen it so many times before.