Staying Present and Connected

Ever since the pandemic began, I’ve learned how to become more aware of, and embrace, the small parts of my day that help me feel more present and connected. As a PhD student, I sometimes find my days blending together as I navigate homework, reading, teaching, and trying to stay connected with friends and family both near and afar. But after an evening walk and watching the sun set over Pocatello one night, I was reminded of all the summer evenings spent back home in Wales, walking alongside the sea and feeling the cool breeze as the sun was beginning to set. I’d spent so much of my childhood and teenage years by the sea, and watched so many sunsets after a day spent on the beach. Even though the beach and sea are far from Pocatello, watching the sun set over the mountains here in Idaho and feeling the warm air of the day exchange with the cold air of the night, still brought a kind of familiarity, peace, and even comfort to me as I was reminded of my summer evenings in Wales—it made me feel both connected to my home country and yet present in the moment. And that’s also why now, more than ever, it has been important for me to take time out of my busy schedule to catch the daily sunset—it’s one of the few moments during my day where I get to reflect, be present, and feel connected.

Jessica Woolley

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