Venturing Out

By Sandy Dale
   Finally, Florence and the rest of the world are opening up a little at a time. I’m old and a little nervous about this, but if I stayed cooped up much longer with my art projects, my gardening, and my cleaning goals I would go completely crazy. Not just the silly old lady people think I am, but STARK RAVING MAD.
   So… I ventured out in my mask and gloves, with hand sanitizer in my pocket, and headed down Main Street in Florence. It was a glorious morning. We have a lot of those in Florence. I noticed more cars in the parking spaces and real people on the sidewalks. Most of them observing social distancing and wearing masks. Lots of muffled “howdies” and “how are ya’s” could be heard. My fear of being out in public began to disappear as I sat on a bench to catch my breath. (I’m not very good at breathing with a mask on.) Things weren’t what I would call normal, but they were sure getting better. The light breeze, the flowers, and the sunshine definitely helped. I figured the mask, the hand washing, and the gloves, etc. were a small price to pay for a shopping adventure in my favorite little town.
   Most of the shops and restaurants were open observing the proper health guidelines, of course. I chatted with my shop owner friends from six feet away and even had an ice cream cone. I hadn’t realized how starved for live company and conversation I was. I found the perfect piece I needed to add to a bird feeder I was making and great old rusty hardware for a gate and gatepost I built last week. Of course, you can always FIND IT IN FLORENCE, as we say.
   As I walked home, I thought of how terrified I had been to go out and how much better I felt after my meander downtown. The saying, “we have nothing to fear, but fear itself,” came to mind. I think a healthy respect for this Covid 19 thing is definitely in order. We need to keep ourselves and others safe by following the prescribed guidelines, but we don’t need to fall victim to the media fear mongers and terrorists. Caution and common sense should be the rule.

   This all brings to mind some Gnarlies* I created several years back to ward off fears of the recession/depression. They were intended to fight fear and restore one’s sense of humor. I pass some of them everyday in my studio and am reminded that the best way to survive these trying times is with a seriously over-active imagination and a wicked sense of humor.

Captions: Pictured here is the Chieftain and his clan of Worryers (pronounced “warriors”) whose purpose is to fend off worries. Above are two smaller members of the clan.
   *Sandy Dale is an artist and sculptor in Florence where she still creates the gnome-like creatures called Gnarlies even though she tells people she is retired from Renaissance Festivals.

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