I’m a person who derives energy from being around energy. Despite being an extrovert, I do NOT require constant interaction with people. Sure, I enjoy it, but what matters more to me is being around the energy of humanity. I remember a blog post I made many years ago, after I had moved back into St. Paul for a couple of years after my divorce. I commented in this blog that I loved living right on Grand Ave. and feeling the energy of life around me. I didn’t have to talk with everyone I saw, but I could feel them there.
As we’ve all been in lockdown for a few weeks, I’ve discovered that one of the things I really miss are the spaces in which people would gather. Places such as coffee shops, taprooms, restaurants, and parks. I loved being in these places, even when I wasn’t interacting directly with people, because of the energy. I would often hit the cafe at Silverwood Park in the afternoons to get some work done, even though I wasn’t talking to anyone there at the park. I would sit next to a window with my headphones on and just feel content being somewhere that was alive.
One might suggest that parks are even more busy now, but due to the fear of spreading the virus, I find myself avoiding busy times at the park, or on the paths, because I don’t want to be around crowds. It’s a sad irony the one of the places I’ve often wanted to see more people using, has become a place that I dread is overcrowded, under these circumstances. I do hope that many of the folks who have found themselves outside at their local parks, continue using and supporting them in the future, once we’re back to normal.
In the past, I also loved the space at churches, specifically the sanctuaries. I’ve gotten to spend a bit of time alone in church sanctuaries (or with one or two others), and it’s given me time to admire and absorb the beauty of the space. The pews ache with anticipation of people who would crowd in and fill them. Even when no one was there, the space feels alive with the energy of life, because it’s sole purpose is to be a gathering space for humanity.
Just like churches are sacred spaces, taprooms, coffee shops, and restaurants, are built to hold people and in many ways are sacred spaces of humanity themselves. They exist for the sole purpose of containing humanity. When you have people gathering in these places, you have energy. That’s an energy that drives me. In this time of lockdown, that’s something that I sorely miss.