Good morning, folks!

It’s a great time to be outside. Last week, a couple in Dallas did something special for their wedding day. Dana Striph and Andrew Houshian planned to get married in April of this year because the date fell on her grandmother’s birthday. While the past few months changed their plans for a large wedding, they got creative and held the ceremony in their own backyard. 

The handful of evenly-spaced guests clapped as the ring bearer — an adorable springer spaniel named Tucker — walked up the aisle to the happy couple, closely followed by their chocolate lab, Maverick, who carried a bouquet of flowers as the flower girl. In the sun-soaked afternoon, their wedding was everything and more than they had hoped. 


Speaking of the weather, let’s catch up with 17-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg. During the past few months, Thunberg has started a Take It Online initiative to transform her climate strike protests into a virtual movement. Take a picture with one of her printable signs and post it online with the tag #ClimateStrikeOnline. Let’s do what we can to help our planet.

Thanks to our indoor isolation, pollution in major cities has gone down an impressive amount. From industrial northern Italy to the streets of New York and beyond, levels of air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide emitted from the burning of fossil fuels have decreased dramatically. 

Cities in India where smog has been a major concern can now take a breath of fresh air. People report seeing the snow-crested mountain peaks of the Himalayas for the first time from their homes, according to a recent article by National Geographic. 

Hopefully, when the restrictions lift and we return to the lives we live outside of our houses, we will keep in mind what we can do to help our planet stay healthy. And let’s be honest, we could all use more outdoor time. 


In other news, there has been an outpouring of community support to help keep healthcare workers’ spirits up. A rainbow of colorful paper hearts and flowers appeared on hospital windows at UnityPoint Health in Iowa in recent weeks. 

Healthcare workers have been giving their all on the front lines to keep others safe, so community members decided to return the favor. They gave homemade masks and face shields and wrote words of encouragement in multicolored chalk on parking lots, driveways and sidewalks.


 In light of all of the students and staff currently off-campus, St. Olaf College’s Department of Music hosted its first episode of a new digital concert series, bringing music back to the Hill. The department  broadcasted a series of archived performances that tied together years of musical moments, including classical pieces by the St. Olaf Orchestra, contemporary works by Norseman Band and several beautiful choral arrangements. 


Bringing it closer to home, last week one of my neighbors sat on his porch with his electric guitar and played a heartwarming rendition of “Here Comes the Sun.” Everyone gardening, playing with their kids in their yard or taking a walk down the street nearby had a smile on their face.

With music floating in the air and colorful messages of love scrawled across our windows, perhaps these past few months are bringing us together more than ever before.


The world is a beautiful place filled with beautiful people. Stay safe, and stay healthy.

 

imdiek1@stolaf.edu