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As You Like It, II.1

“And this our life, exempt from public haunt, Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, Sermons in stones, and good in everything.”

Hello! I’m Liz, and I’m excited to be joining the KP Consulting team as a guest blogger.

To begin, Happy Easter! It’s the Easter season, right?

Without the usual shared ritual of Holy Thursday, Good Friday services, Stations of the Cross, Fish Frys, Easter Vigils, Masses and Brunches – it felt almost like any other weekend under quarantine at our house.

My husband and I are both working from home, and our toddler DOES NOT understand why we are not ready to play 110% of the time. We’re lucky. We’re grateful. But it’s a lot. I’m starting to treasure the moments when I can sneak out to our postage-stamp backyard for a few minutes between projects.

I’ve been amazed to watch plants start sending up shoots, blooms and spouts over the past few weeks. Our little lilac is full of tight purple buds, and the hostas are heedless of the global pandemic. Nature is relentless in pursuit of its own renewal. It’s giving me hope, right now.

One of my favorite plays is As You Like It, by William Shakespeare, an absolutely silly comedy about daughters in disguise, lovesick shepherds and country life. Shakespeare lived through many waves of the plague, quarantine, and 16-century “social distancing” measures. After being locked up in London, it’s no wonder that the natural world looms large in his works.

The protagonists of As You Like It escape to live in the Forest of Arden.

Once in the Forest, the Duke marvels at the slower pace of life: “Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile, hath not old custom made this life more sweet / Than that of painted pomp?” The Duke is totally that guy on Instagram posting his sourdough starter every day, and getting super into pickling things.

As we moved through Holy Week, I tried to embrace the slower pace of life these days. I missed missing the bustling preparation, the excitement of seeing my sisters, getting gussied up for Easter Sunday Mass. But, we got through it; we still celebrated as a domestic church.

So, I’m holding the words of Duke Senior close to my heart: “And this our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything.”

If you have a few minutes this week, step outside – or spend a minute with your favorite houseplant – and be at peace, and at rest, with the natural world. Let it soothe and remind you that life will prevail. We’ll get through this.

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