Standing on the back porch of Miss Edith’s Topsmead cottage on this frosty late December morning, I fancy I can almost see it, out across the snow-blanketed field....Yes...I can almost see it... I know it’s there, just below the horizon: the ragged end of the crazy year that is 2020...the year that we can almost talk about in the past tense.... Along with all of its other craziness, 2020 has been the year when friends became emotionally and socially sustaining in the face of the pandemic’s demand for physical distancing and maintaining small social household bubbles.
I am having an ah-hah moment as I stand on the porch. To my great pleasure, I am realizing Topsmead has been a new friend for me this year and that her friendship (I think of Topsmead as a “she”) has helped to carry me through the challenges of 2020. She is always here, just a few minutes from my house. Turn right onto Chase Road, up the dirt drive and into the parking lot, out of my burgundy Subaru, pink leash on my poodle, and then the decision of which direction to go: up the gravel path to the cottage with its English gardens, or out across the fields towards the butterfly garden, or around to the right past the ponds and the back barn buildings, or around the Edith M. Chase Ecology Trail, or perhaps over to the forested Stairs Pond Trail. Choices, choices. All of them good. All of them friendly.
Topsmead has been the ultimate pandemic friend. Always welcoming. Always ready to share her fresh air and wide open spaces. Always listening without judging. Being with Topsmead did not require wearing a mask or physically distancing (unless, of course, other folks were near). What a gift her friendship has been!
And then there are the new human friends that I have made in the Zoom universe this year thanks to Topsmead: collaborating with Carol Gould on the writing of the blog and her Letters from the President, working with Jenny Riggs on the Give Local campaign, helping Janet Blauvelt to publicize her online Lectures on the Lawn series, and working with Jenny Riggs, Jerry Geci, and Katie LeVander to create a film about Miss Edith and Topsmead.
With this year’s Winter Solstice and the great conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter, which hasn’t been this visible for 800 years, the stars and planets are aligning to make for a cosmic transition to 2021. Let us embrace the cosmic energy of the new year, celebrate the longer and brighter days, and look forward to once-again embracing old friends and new.