Stranger Days #13: Bears in Windows

Estimated Reading Time: 3.5 minutes

Welcome to stranger days--my blog series exploring daily life, challenges in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, and just sharing insights or thoughts about how to make it through these days.  

A teddy bear in a window being held up by blinds
I really appreciate the creativity and goofiness of humans. It can be a lot of fun and delightful to watch how we adapt.  The most recent thing to amuse me are the "bear hunts" going on around town.  The concept is that folks put teddy bears in their windows and families can go on walks around their neighborhoods to see if others can find them.  Some neighborhoods are getting deep into it as they compose scavenger hunt lists of addresses, neighborhoods and stuffed animals to keep an eye out for and mark on their list.  

On my walk this morning, I managed to find a few items still in the windows which I took photos of but not a lot. It made me wonder one of two things.  The first is whether people know about it and are participating in it.  Our neighborhood has a fair amount of children and it definitely seems like a neighborhood that people would know about such things. But then, the second thought occurred to me that maybe it was a bit too early. It was 6:30am and I had just finished my run.  Most windows had shades, curtains, or blinds up, so mayhaps more (stuffed) animals come out later in the day.  

Another thought occurred to me as I walked the streets thinking about this practice.  On the one hand as I said, it's an endearing practice to see and signals some level of community and coming together. That's heartwarming and not entirely surprising.  There's substantial evidence that in times of trouble, humans come together, despite what every zombie apocalypse tells you.  (see here, here, here, and here for more evidence). 

But (and we knew that a but was coming!) it also had me thinking. How will the future understand acts like these? Yes, these are acts that are filled with kind intent to help kids make the best of a strange time in the world.  Yet, I wondered if there will be a future where we look at it differently.  

The thought sprung to mind when walking around in my neighborhood which is definitely a middle to upper-middle-class neighborhood.  We don't' own and realistically, couldn't afford this neighborhood for certain. From an outward appearance and conversations, it's the type of neighborhood that isn't hit particularly hard just yet by everything that Covid-19 and its aftermath has to offer. Many people shifted to remote work; others qualify as essential employees, but it's still not seemingly hard for folks. (That's a huge generalization based upon only what I can see outside of people's homes and the conversations I've had with 6-8 neighbors over the last week).

But from what I read and the friends I know, many are in much tougher circumstances--and, of course, many were in hard circumstances which have only been further exasperated. It makes me wonder if such activities will be seen differently and what that might look like.  The intention is not to find fault but to consider how in pursuing to entertain ourselves, how much of it is an intentional distraction or leaning possible towards avoidance.  It may be completely appreciated, utterly inconsequential, or maybe just seen in a different light--I don't know but that was the thought that came to me today as I, too, took part in my own bear-hunt throughout the neighborhood.  

In the meanwhile, if you are looking to do something more, there are definitely some great ideas gathered that I found in this AAA article.  

What kinds of thoughts and reflections about the future and how they will look at us have you been having?

Take care. Be careful. Be care-filled.  Welcome to stranger days.

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