I ventured out of my house this morning at my usual time for a walk and found the lack of people out and dearth of traffic noises somewhat eerie. The birdsong, however, was cheerful and loud, heralding the coming of spring and warmer weather.
I wanted to see if there were hearts in the windows of homes in our neighbourhood or messages in the shape of a heart along my route. At the end of one of our national news programs last evening, there was a short segment about a movement that parents and children have embarked on to inspire hope in others.
Many homes in the news clip had colourful hearts taped to windows and there were hearts with messages posted on poles and trees. Children and parents around the world have been posting these hearts to support and encourage each other. These images have gone viral on numerous social media sites and have also been sent to people through text message and emails. It was a pleasant way to end a difficult and challenging news program.
Foot traffic along the biking/walking path I typically travel along has been light as people are staying home and being mindful of social distancing to try and slow the rate of the COVID-19 virus. Lately, when I encounter other walkers or people on their bikes, we smile politely in acknowledgement but try to maintain our distance. I have missed the morning conversations that I often have with friends and neighbours who are also out walking early each morning.
Along the path this morning, I found a large red heart tied to one of the trees in the park that lies adjacent to where I was walking. It wouldn’t withstand too many days of strong winds or spring rain but was still where someone had placed it, most likely two days ago. The message written upon it was difficult to make out, but seemed to contain a note that we will get through this time together.
Further along the path, there were sidewalk chalk messages, now partially erased from a schiff of snow yesterday, imploring us to look after one another, and to help each other out by staying apart. Some of the messages appeared to be written by children and others I imagine were crafted by parents.
Laying down these thoughts in pastel colours, I imagine that parents created these messages in heart shapes to reassure their children, to support others as well as to cultivate a sense of optimism for the future within themselves. The resilience of families in our community and willingness to care for and encourage others is a positive sign that we will, indeed, get through this together.
On the final leg of my morning walk, I wandered down the street towards my home and did find several homes with colourful hearts taped on the inside of their windows. I was pleased to have discovered these images close by. It was a comforting and welcome sight.
It was a different walking experience through my neighbourhood this morning but discovering the number of hearts taped on living room windows, and sidewalk chalk messages written in the shape of a heart, was uplifting and serves as a welcome beacon of hope. I hope that you, too, find hearts of hope in your neighbourhood.
Stay healthy and well.