Notes with Nate: Seize the Lilac

The 2021 Lilac Festival is being held in the month of May; however, it is looking quite different than it has in the past. The festival traces its origins back to 1898 when the park first began to see groups of people visiting the Rochester area to experience the fragrant springtime blooms. One year after that in 1899, St. John’s Home was established. Over the course of decades, St. John’s and the Lilac Festival have seen many changes, but the changes this past year are certainly both historic and challenging.

Many of the associating activities of the Lilac Festival are quite different than in recent years.  Some traditions have not yet returned; some things that were part of our experience in the past are still on hold; and the limitations around participating are starkly different.  However, the flowers are still there.

Much like with the festival, we at St. John’s are finally welcoming back families and visitors; however, it is still a very different experience and process than what people remember from prior to March 2020.  Managing scheduled visitation; taking weekly free COVID tests; wearing protective equipment; missing shared meals; and not being able to participate in large community activities feels very different for friends and families.  Yet, the connections are still there.

So, in times of great challenge, innovative compromises are the often the best path to being able to continue celebrating traditions, albeit with modifications. The Lilac Festival will be missing its traditional food vendors this year; therefore, we are bringing in our own Fried Dough Truck to the St. John’s Home parking lot to serve the elders up some of the chewy deliciousness. We cannot have a large event, but we can spread out participation by scheduling visits to the park one building at a time; thereby giving residents a chance to participate in and belong to a community.

All time is fleeting. If we cannot do all the things we used to, we can certainly focus on all the things we can do. So, “carpe synringa vulgaris” (or “seize the lilac”)!

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