This summer many people have been able to enjoy pre-pandemic activities again; “normal” experiences like dining out, attending live events, and traveling. As new variants of Covid spread around the globe and uncertainty about safety begins to escalate, it is difficult to think about the possibility of returning to lockdown protocols. In 2020, we learned new virtual ways and revived some old ways of creating shared experiences. These shared experiences had such a positive influence on our emotional wellbeing and connectedness.
Attending virtual worship services, classes and workshops, video chats, live stream events, and movie watch parties were new to some of us. Group activities like game nights, book clubs, dinner parties, and happy hours continued to flourish via video chat platforms. Old school activities like making phone calls, writing letters, and picnics with loved ones were revisited.
In her poem “Scratch, Sniff” Katie Rubenstein calls attention to the fact that shared experiences are much more intense and enjoyable when shared with others. How many times have you tried to capture something beautiful, bottle it up, and share it with loved ones? In what ingenious ways will you continue to do this?
It was weeks ago now
that first September I spent here on this island,
still hot and balmy.
I wanted a scratch and sniff for you,
some clever little corner of the screen
so I could share this most perfect thing:
the smell of beach roses, all briney.
They were abundant outside of the cottage,
and each time I passed, I wondered how I’d gotten so lucky—
that they became like dandelions in my life.
Hardy, scrappy and perfectly soft all at the same time,
nestled in their rocky, sandy homes, smelling like heaven—
those round, round hips.
I wanted to eat them, be them,
and I wanted you to smell them
as if sharing them would somehow
exponentially increase the delight
or make the sense more real.
But it was mine alone
and exquisite all the same.
– Katie Rubinstein