When my wife and I were dating, we would often visit Sunset Beach in NC. Sunset was a quiet, “family” beach. There were no tall commercial building, only cottages. It’s a pretty beach to visit. Back then, Sunset Beach had a neighboring island called Bird Island. Bird Island was just a small island of grassy dunes. There was no jurisdiction there so people would often go there to bare themselves. In the nude, that is.
Anyway, if you wanted to go to Bird Island, you had to be patient and wait for the tide to roll out. At low tide, you could actually walk from the island of Sunset Beach to Bird Island, but at high tide, you needed a boat. So if you wanted to be free, and nude, you needed to know when the tide would roll in and out. For what it’s worth, we didn’t go to Bird Island to be “free,” but we did love to go there as it was just a pretty place to be in - when everyone was wearing clothes.
But then came Hurricane Fran. It was one of the most powerful Hurricanes North Carolina has seen. So powerful that it changed the landscape and merged Sunset Beach with Bird Island. Now it’s more like Bird Peninsula. It’s still pretty, but the adventure of crossing through to the other side is gone. Now, we just walk there whenever we want. Don’t worry though, you can still bare your bottom there if you so desire.
The point of my Bird Island story is that change happens and it often happens after a storm has passed. Our normal way of getting to Bird Island changed after the hurricane. We still go there, but it is quite different than how it used to be. It’s still beautiful, it’s just different.
I’m remembering Bird Island because I got used to my way of doing things before COVID-19 happened. I had my routines, my thoughts, my ways. Sometimes I find myself missing them, wanting my normal to return. And it might. But, it might not because Covid-19 is a storm. And much like Hurricane Fran, I think when this virus “blows away” it’s going to change the landscape quite a bit. Things will be different. I, along with everyone else, may have to find another way of doing things. And maybe, this other way will be even better, or even easier. Besides, It’s certainly a lot easier to get to Bird Island now than it was before the hurricane.
At the time Bird Island joined with Sunset Beach the thought was “Isn’t that sad, the hurricane joined the islands.” The only reason that thought was there was because most of us were used to the way it was and somehow thought that way was better. But apparently it was time for a change. After all, why should people who embrace their natural skin suit have to wait for the tide to roll out to bare their all? Now they can be free whenever they want.
I guess I’m saying COVID-19 will be a thing of the past one day soon and things will be a great deal different. But a great deal of good will be found in this new landscape. Especially if we look for it. But if we don’t look for it, if we try to hold onto the past and how things were, if we try to hold onto what is gone forever, we will suffer and we will only find pain.
Change will always happen. That’s its nature. This world is changing every day. We must be able to adapt and change with it. We must know there is good after the storm of change and the world can be even better than it was. But whether or not it appears to be better will be determined by whether or not we decide to embrace the changes that we face. We don’t necessarily choose our circumstances, but we do get to choose our stories around the circumstances that unfold in our lives. That means we get to write our stories in so much that we get to determine how we react and act in our circumstances. We don’t write our circumstances but we do choose how we see and interpret them.
That means we can choose the best steps to take with what we are given. We can learn a better way forward. We can learn to have have more empathy for others, we can learn to have more appreciation for the small business owners, and maybe we can even discover a sense of freedom in knowing that we simply can’t control everything no matter how hard we try or how much we want to. The point is, we can move forward with agility. If we choose to.
Or, or we can just cling to the past and be painfully dragged along as the world continues to change.
COVID-19 is just one storm of many. It will pass and we will be here to step forward. I suspect what we find is that life will still be beautiful, it will just be different. But beautiful still.
And who knows, maybe this is the storm where we we learn how to be naked, open, and vulnerable to change. Much like the adventures on Bird Peninsula, maybe this is where we learn how to be naked and bare our souls anytime we want. There’s beauty in that, too.