This month, I want to wholeheartedly focus on optimism.
For the past six years, every spring a mourning dove has visited me on the terrace of my apartment in New York City. I believe that she visits for a reason. She is not afraid of me; we sometimes sit quietly near each other. Her visit has an inexplicable calming effect on me. Upon some research, I discovered that the dove is a symbol of hope and salvation in the wake of turmoil and uncertainty. Her recent presence this spring has uplifted my spirit after a challenging winter, symbolizing optimism and revitalization.
Growing up, I’ve always associated my mother with her love of birds. She used to save baby birds that fell out of their nests in our country home, and nurture them back to health. Eventually, as all babies do, they would grow stronger and venture out into the wild on their own. But until that day, she was truly their mother. My mother passed away many years ago, but somehow my mourning dove connects me to her spirit. This May, particularly on Mother’s Day, it is important to be mindful of what mothers have done to prepare us to go out into the world.
As we broach the summer season, it’s easy to sense the buzz of anticipation of the months ahead: streets of cities and towns come alive with people delighted to awaken from winter “hibernation.” Harbours fill with boats, gardeners plant their flowers and shrubs, and summer plans are made. There is so much to look forward to, such richness all around, and many opportunities to channel this optimism into different parts of our lives. Optimism is a strange concept, and sometimes a difficult one in light of life’s many obstacles. But a hopeful outlook is essential to achieving happiness.
To stay optimistic, we need to take pleasure in our senses. Spring is a fresh start, and brings with it the re-opening of local farmers markets. Take advantage of the best fresh produce available in your region, and form meaningful connections with local farmers. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo on the 5th with fresh Pineapple Chicken Tinga Quesedillas from Half Baked Harvest. Spend time with your mom and mother figures on the 14th and treat them to an Almond Tea Cake by Tutti Dolc.
There is much to be remembered this month by observing World Health Day (7th), Armed Forces Day (20th) and Memorial Day (29th). The great dedication of people protecting the freedom and health of others around the world is a testament to the human spirit. We can all apply this commitment to helping others in our day-to-day lives, whether a kind gesture to a stranger, or volunteering for a cause. Everything, in the end, leads to an optimistic future.
Photography: Amanda Palomino