Silver linings in the clouds

Published 7:21 pm Thursday, March 26, 2020

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By Biff and Susan Andrews

The coronavirus pandemic clouds are gathering over Hampton Roads — and many people are being adversely affected. But there are some bright spots on the horizon for us optimists. Here are some “positives” for those who see the glass mainly full:

I’m positive that most American families are spending more time together. That’s a good thing. How close they’re getting we’ll find out in just under a year — in the delivery rooms and divorce courts.

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Look at it this way— if you’re positive with the coronavirus you probably can’t get tested … so you’ll never know what hit you.

As far as we Master Naturalists are concerned, “stay at home” is great — we get to work outside in our yards and gardens. We’re stay-at-home type of people anyway. Now we have more time to do it.

The school situation is showing us the have-and-have-not situation. Most kids have wi-fi at home, but not everybody … and you can’t ask them to gather at a library or community center. It’s time for free wi-fi in America. Make the free version slow and the paid version fast. But make sure everybody has access. Think of the schooling possible if every kid could work at his own pace on assignments!

I’m positive there’s some spring cleaning going on. Hampton Roads should be sparkling in a few weeks.

“Trickle down” economics seems to apply to tests, masks, gowns, etc. as well. The NBA stars and Congressmen and rich can get tested. Wonder when we ordinary folks will get the trickle down? I’m still waiting for my tax breaks.

For lots of Americans, the problem is not a lack of funds — it’s finding places to spend them. Everybody should have our problems!

Don’t forget to feed the birds, especially now that we have leisure time to sit and watch them. You can’t spend the money on concerts and movies — enjoy the local show for a few dollars’ worth of seeds.

With many churches closed, let’s not lose sight of what’s important — taking care of those with the greatest needs. Support the Food Bank, the elderly, neighbors, and anybody else who may be struggling — with cash, supplies and sweat equity.

We’re not in a “stay at home” situation. What a great time to get out and walk a trail or a beach. Walking a trail means you can keep your spacing at 60 feet or 600 feet, not just six feet.

Time to grow your own food. Plant cold crops like spinach and lettuce and May peas and reap the benefits in a month or so. Let’s see — six baby lettuce plants cost $1.50. Six heads of lettuce at the store — if you can find them — cost … way too much.

What a great time of year for a pandemic! Take on a project you’ve been meaning to tackle. My neighbor just replaced a fence. We’re painting a sun room. Check what your “To Do” list has on it and tackle the biggest job there. You’ve got the time!

I’m positive that some people are cooking more than usual. Those who usually eat at restaurants are learning new coping skills. Those who normally cook are probably finding new recipes. And what a great rush there will be to the restaurants when they re-open. Win, Win, Win!

The pandemic clouds may be gathering ominously, but there are silver linings!

 Susan and Bradford “Biff” Andrews are retired teachers and master naturalists who have been outdoor people all their lives, exploring and enjoying the woods, swamps, rivers and beaches throughout the region for many years. Email them at