As we open back up, it’s worth reflecting on what we’ve gained in the middle of this year+ of loss.

We’ve unexpectedly and tragically lost loved ones; lost our health to a strange flu; lost jobs, income or ability to be with people that matter. But its important to reflect on what we’ve learned.

I’ve never seen so many people in parks, on picnics and on bicycle trails. I’ve rediscovered time—on the weekends, which opened up when the ability to frantically hop from errand to errand was lifted from me. I’ve discovered I don’t need quite what I always thought was so important—and saved money in the process. I’ve learned that boredom is actually not a bad thing (though I realize that parents of school-age children unfortunately did not get to discover that).

And in many cases, we’ve rediscovered what’s in our own backyard, here in Frederick County.

I’ve decided to intentionally hold onto that. Because I’m fortunate enough to work from home, I’m taking Frederick County Fridays this summer. Every Friday, I will take my laptop and my workload and rotate the four directions of the compass, and discover what is there as I sit in my folding chair, or at a picnic table, and get my work done. (We’re lucky that the county has put Wi-Fi into the parks in the past few years!)

Can you join me and make your own version of this? Take a Sunday afternoon, weekly or once a month, and find something new-a trail, a neighborhood to bike in, a small town street to poke into the shops, or sit on a rock by one of our many rivers or streams. When my kids were small, once every summer we had ‘park days’ where we picked 3-4 different parks, packed a lunch and spent an hour or two roving from park to park, the three of us debating which was the “best'”.

I invite you to choose a local adventure, and follow mine if you like! Post your experiences and tag us on our Facebook page, or write a guest blog for us! We want to hear how you are continuing your pandemic slow-speed and rediscovering life. There is much serious work to do to help our community, nation and world when it comes to climate change, income inequality, racial inequity and affordable housing. These slow times to savor what is around us will energize us to do the work.

Linda Norris-Waldt is executive director of Envision Frederick County. She lives in Middletown, MD, (which is NOT in this photo- that is the Panther Mountain trail near Tupper Lake NY) where she works to shine the light on all things sustainable in Frederick County.