Be Here Now

By Sandy Dale
   Back in “the day,” Baba Ram Das said, “Be here now.” It wasn’t a new idea. It was often suggested by folks (some people thought irresponsible) to “live in the moment.” I’m pretty sure this is the only way a lot of us will make it through this trying time with our sense of humor, and maybe even our sanity, in tact.
   Of course, like any spiritual exercise, this is not easy. Especially now. It is easy to slip back into remembering how wonderful things were just six or seven months ago. Or to worry incessantly about what is to come in the future. But can you just lose yourself in gazing at the stars, admiring the garden, watching a yellow finch hanging upside down pecking at a sunflower? I don’t mean just glancing at things, I mean “experiencing this moment” that happens only once. I don’t mean snapping a photo on your phone…I mean being there with the stars, the morning glories, or the finch.
   I attended a marvelous outdoor concert at our Bell Tower Cultural center here in Florence last Saturday night. The duo performing, Acoustic Eidolon, was thrilled to be playing for a live audience for the first time since last March. The tiny masked, social distancing audience was thrilled to hear live music again. The musicians sat on the front porch and the audience sat in lawn chairs in the garden in front of them. A sliver of moon could be seen through the leaves of the towering old trees and the cicadas chirped enthusiastically along with the delightful sounds of guitar and cello. For nearly ninety minutes I had no thoughts of past or future. I was lost in that very moment. I figure if all of us could lose our thoughts and worries for at least once a day, it would be wonderfully therapeutic. There are so many ways – gardening, playing music, painting, drawing, shopping… Yes, I said shopping. You don’t have to actually buy something. You just have to immerse yourself in the activity.
   This brings me, of course, to suggesting a lovely day trip to Florence.* I might also suggest that you visit on Second Saturday (September 12) for our new Second Saturdays Sidewalk Sale and the opening reception of Local Color, a collaborative effort between the Florence Arts Council and the downtown merchants who will highlight local artists in their shops.
   *Again I ask, please don’t come if you are sick, wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands often. We will appreciate your doing this and we will do the same.

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