Two months ago, our last newsletter ended with this quote:
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
- Marcel Proust
Little did we know, that we would get the chance to practice just that within a few weeks of this post. When news of the coronavirus became more and more serious and its progression across the country and into our quiet corner of Colorado not only likely but a sure thing, Heartwood Community made the decision to cease all gatherings in the Common House. Following the guidelines suggested by health officials to keep a 6 foot distance between everyone not belonging to the same household went without saying. Shortly after that, on March 25th, Governor Polis announced the “shelter-at-home” order for Coloradans. By then many of us had already restricted travel into town to cover only the essential needs of every day life.
So how does life look and feel like in these strange times in a cohousing community, where people live in order to be in close proximity with others, share laughter, food, hugs and so much more?
We get creative!
It is no big surprise that one of our monthly “Work Parties” during which we take care of projects on the land, drew many more out of their homes than usual, despite the cold temperatures. It was so wonderful to be able to see each other not only in passing! And we discovered that the Common House porch is big enough to host quite a few of us - at 6 feet apart!
Without being able to attend meetings in person we are getting familiar with Zoom, Facetime, Skype, Google Hangouts and what not. Together with the rest of the world we try and stay connected and get work done - from our living rooms. Admittedly, it feels awkward to meet with a next door neighbor on a screen. But even during a pandemic there are decisions to be made in a cohousing community and there are lots of practical things to communicate about. So we meet online. But hey, we were also able to attend one of our famous Friday Happy Hours, usually held in the Common House, via ZOOM. A great time was had by all, good conversations and plenty of laughter!
A great turn out also received the recent first meeting of the parties enlisted in the planned expansion of Heartwood, Phase 2. Thanks to Zoom, those eager to move forward with joining the Heartwood community were able to connect with each other across the country, talk about details regarding the building of new homes here and have questions answered. Yeah, technology!
This has been going around the internet lately:
Introverts, please take care of your extrovert friends during these strange times. They don’t know how to do this!
People drawn to cohousing often identify themselves as introverts. So for many of us the invitation to spend more time at home has not been much of a hardship, but a continuation of what we have been doing all along already! But with the many new opportunities we discover to connect, we hope our friends, the extroverts among us, feel also taken care of, as we continue to try and stay safe by following the orders to “shelter-at-home”. Even with physical distancing being the norm now, we are "in touch" never the less and are not "socially" distancing. We share resources via email about free streaming of theater, museums, etc, gather lists of recommended movies for each other, pick up items at the grocery store for others and share hand sanitizer and even, yes, toilet paper! And not to forget the Happy Hours on the paths between the houses. We truly feel blessed to live in community, especially at a time like this!
In addition to sharing resources with each other we are also able to offer shelter to two guests who joined us just before the outbreak of the pandemic, only to find themselves stranded when their continuing traveling plans got canceled. Fortunate indeed for all of us, V and Zoe help out wherever they can now and we are grateful too!
In the meantime, we are glad to say that all here at Heartwood are healthy. We can walk the 7 miles of trails we have access to right from our front doors, alone or with a friend, 6 feet apart of course. We might even look “with new eyes” as we pass the many familiar landmarks of our beautiful Southwestern landscape. We tend to our gardens, we sit in the sun with cups of tea and listen to the birds singing their songs, as beautiful as ever.
We hope this newsletter finds you in good health and can't wait to be able to open our doors to visitors again in the future!
The Heartwood Happenings newsletter offers glimpses into everyday life here at Heartwood. To have Heartwood newsletters delivered right to your inbox, click on the GET IN TOUCH button at the bottom of this page.