From my ground floor window, I can see my kids scooting by. In the summer, I watched chalk crease between cement, only to become a medley of colors from the rain. In the fall, the leaves blew so hard past the gate, as wine glasses echoed nearby. And still, in the early evening, bundles of to-go dinners stroll with hands as partners; I can only presume that a date nearby will be enjoyed.
Throughout the course of this pandemic, there are very few things that I find myself counting on. The masked adventures outside (rain or shine) have been one. This has been our constant since day one. I know that outside we’ll meet like minded New Yorkers, we will exchange pleasantries, and ask if we’re Ok and fold into what’s being asked of us personally or professionally. Outside—even in the winter— the weight of it all sort of dissipates for a while. All that matters is that you’re out, safely.
This summer, a woven market tote sat right next to my front door under golden mask hooks and jiggling keys. As the days grew warmer and longer, it was filled with a summer blanket, a stereo, water balloons, water bottles, rocks that remained at the bottom, more than enough hand sanitizer, wipes, reusable ziplock bags and even washed and repacked containers. The adventures seemed endless really. All I needed was a desire to get up and go.
As the days grow shorter and darker, I have no plans to change this system. It was our March survival, after all. But of course, we aren’t on the cusp of spring any longer. There are plans to hunker down for winter and the supplies need to be swapped and organized to fit the conditions.
When I think of experiences to give, most of them require the outdoors. Whether it is me with them, or a gift as a nudge to still enjoy if they can and if they must.
This year, each guide will be centered around the rooms in our home and will be majority women and Black-owned. This is for many reasons, along with the obvious.
Here’s a guide for Care On The Stoop (or anywhere outside, really):
A chunky sweater for a friend and neighbor, who spent many nights talking through the year with you.
Amber chromed glassware for yourself, perfect for your stoop wine dates when the kids are finally down.
The most beautiful collection of essays I’ve ever read, to enjoy with your own mother together and apart (outdoors and under the sun) to revel in what a revolutionary act this all is.
Control bracelet handmade by Edas, to be worn everyday as a perfect reminder of the beauty and power in letting go a bit this season and the next.
A healing skin soufflé from Beneath The Mask to give to your child’s teacher, as a thank you for reminding them to keep theirs on. And for healing hers when she finally gets to take hers off.
A rattan Acorn Bag for your niece for all the gathering, making and dreaming she’s doing in forest school and beyond.
A pair of epic Roller Skates from Moonlight Troller, for your BFF, so this winter is full of getting out and learning new things.
A personalized bluetooth speaker for your sister, as a reminder the party can and will happen anytime and anywhere.
A traveling cheese board set for your husband for date nights out more than in.
A quilted patchwork blanket for your aunt, who will surely be in the park this winter and can use this to bundle out or in.
A homemade kite to be made one evening and painted the next for your son with hopes it’ll keep him running with his head to the sky.
In honor of all the days we’ve spent in the park this year, for #GivingTuesday, we are splitting donations between our local park, Fort Greene Park and Landback. Landback is a mutli-faceted campaign to get Indigenous lands back into Indigenous hands, and empower Indigenous people across Turtle Island with the tools and strategies to do LANDBACK work in their own communities.
(This post has affiliate links. If you choose to purchase something, we may earn a small commission. Photograph Amanda Petersen)