Breathing in Fresh Air and Human Connections
A social outing! With real people outside the family! In the sunshine, no less.
It's been a long year. A year of fear, worry, frustration, and more negative adjectives than I have time to write. All amidst health scares, economic hardships, record unemployment, social unrest, and shutdown after shutdown. The pandemic is not over by any means, but with the vaccines, we're all seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. And for the first time in a year, it's not the headlight of an oncoming train. For me last Sunday, it was the bright sunshine on an unusually warm late winter afternoon.
I guess when the temperature hits the high 70s, I should really call it early spring, no matter what the calendar says. Either way, it was heavenly to be outside on a gorgeous day ... and with other people, no less.
Heresy? I think not. Fresh air plus social distancing equals a fine afternoon. I joined with the Georgia Entertainment Sports League, founded by casting director Brian Beegle, for a walk and yoga class along a section of Atlanta's developing Beltline. These are walkable trails through city parks that will eventually connect the neighborhoods in a circle around Atlanta. Paved pathways, bridges over babbling brooks, stone steps to smaller paths to explore, playgrounds and picnic tables - all within a canopy of green.
Everyone was out! Kids, dogs, joggers, walkers of all ages and ability, cyclists ... you name it. For nearly an hour, we walked along the paths before we found an open grassy knoll. Gathering in a circle - six feet apart from one another - we spread out our towels and enjoyed a wonderful yoga class taught by Brian's fiancé and master yoga instructor, Cari Moskow. I'm more of a Pilates gal than a yoga afficionado, but the gentle stretching felt wonderful in all that sunshine.
Best of all, this was time to meet and socialize with other people, other actors, musicians, and creatives who had also joined the GESL. It was truly a reminder that we are all social creatures. After a year of isolation, it was exhilarating just to connect with other folks outside of a Zoom session. Yes, the walk and yoga class were highly enjoyable, but the social interaction was what our souls needed most.
It also goes to show that actors aren't purely the attention-seeking, spotlight-craving creatures that so many assume we are. Well ... at least not entirely. We're storytellers, reflecting humanity on itself. Acting is about seeking out the truth in human relationships and exposing it for all its worth: the vulnerable moments, the flaws within everyone, the stories that we create just by living our lives. We can't create compelling characters and tell these stories without experiencing these very human moments ourselves. And it's pretty darn hard to experience these moments when we're isolated from one another for a long periods of time. Imagination takes us far, but ultimately - like everyone else - we need to be with others to rejuvenate our spirits.
Last Sunday was a very human moment out in the sunshine, connecting with others eye to eye, and sharing stories of our year in virtual lockup and our hopes for the coming seasons. If nothing else, it proved (at least to me!) that light, hope, and sunshine are intrinsically more powerful to our true selves than the draw of any man-made spotlight.