Incredibly, Memorial Day weekend is already here, but with differences. The pandemonium in the days approaching the holiday weekend is no different than in years past. Last minute customers are still in the market seeking a quick rental but longer term than in prior years. The most requested is a 4 bedroom water view or waterfront with a pool for Memorial Day to July 31st for less than $25K, a rare animal. Landlords who have been in self-quarantine for weeks have begun to prepare for incoming tenants, pack and move. In many cases, these landlords are seeking a rental on the island priced less than their rental, keeping it all in the Shelter Island “family.”
In the sale market, the up to $2.5M range is currently most requested. As Gov. Cuomo’s stay-at-home mandate continues, both sellers and prospective buyers are frustrated that real estate agents are not permitted to do in-person showings. Not even waiting in a driveway for a customer to walk through a house or showing up at a closing to collect a commission is permissible. That said, some real estate agents whose names are recognized in our area are seizing the day and conducting business as usual, albeit wearing a mask. One area agent was fined and their license suspended for an in-person showing. Meanwhile, other real estate agents sharpen their digital pencils, communicate with their clients and customers from a sequestered place, and adhere to the current law, amidst some pushback.
From my home office, over a 14-hour work day, I feel the sun and warm breeze floating through the window over seedlings that are nearing planting to rich soil. My thoughts drift to past summer evenings with friends to see films and dining at our favorite restaurants, strolls alongside sandpipers at the beach, sponsoring my favorite charitable organizations, going to Coopers Beach for concerts, attending the chicken barbecue and the classic car show, and visiting with long-time customers and clients. Suddenly reality sets in and I begin pondering what strange form the summer of 2020 will take.
I was raised with grandparents who were Japanese, born in the late 1800s in another era. In their 80s they remained curious about new concepts and for as long as I knew them, they were without judgment of people they met. They practiced something that might best be described as “spiritual fortitude:” Keeping their thoughts in the present, not projecting what the future might hold or what might have been lost in the past, and acceptance of things that came to them. The surprise of a perfect soft boiled egg cracked open for breakfast could bring spontaneous celebratory laughter, while life’s disappointments brought a reassuring, all-knowing smile and a hug.
My grandfather was an artist and his creativity required focus, an intuitive conceptuality and dedication to his goals. He said that the art of woodblock printing required patience, stamina and not too much projection. Very often, the end result was not the original vision and in many ways trust and faith along the way led to a wonderful outcome.
Each day I think of my grandparents, and how fortunate I was to have had them with me for my childhood. Last weekend, I went to a client’s house to take exterior pictures, and in their garden became mesmerized by the lilies of the valley and lush ferns which would have been a spiritual and creative treasure trove for my grandfather. Although I could have snapped photos within a few minutes, I took my time to observe bumblebees lathering themselves in pollen and the delicately ribbed flowers on the dogwood tree which close to fifty years ago were an inspiration and artistic subject for my grandfather’s woodblock print.
Continuing life during the Coronavirus pandemic, the summer of 2020 will certainly be different from what we have been accustomed to. The familiar and dear in each day, and especially on Memorial Day, can offer a sense of spiritual growth and comfort if we are receptive.
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. If anything is worth doing, do it with all your heart.”