Through our lens: Living in the moment

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  • Painter Maggie Hodges of Amherst set up her easel just below the Summit House on Mount Holyoke in Hadley on Thursday morning of last week. Hodges, a member of the Amherst Plein Air Society, noted the hazy atmosphere — with temperatures set to hit 90 degrees — and said there was also beauty there. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Hank Banas cleans off the roof of the RV where he and his wife, Kathy Banas, are parked at the Northampton/Springfield KOA campgrounds in Westhampton.   STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • James Pettengill at Musante Beach in Leeds with his two children, Ozzy Robb, 3, and Leo Robb, 1. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Gwen Dwyer of Leeds picks blueberries at Birdhaven Blueberry farm in Southampton. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Zane Poehler makes his way across the Mill River in Florence along with Matan Ryan, a counselor-in-training, left, and Jon Cleland, a camper, as part of Biocitizen, an outdoors-based summer camp. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Milena Dabova, left, Andrew Todd, below, and Cariel Klein, top, rehearse with the Double Edge Theatre ensemble last Friday for the Ashfield troupe’s Summer Spectacle, “6 Feet Apart, All Together.” STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Joseph Greco grabs a parallel bar during Camp Prospect, for 5- to 14-year-olds at Hampshire Regional YMCA. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

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Published: 7/16/2020 12:55:16 PM

Museums, theaters, some outdoor summer camps and the YMCA are all figuring out how to reopen during Phase 3 while people are out and about, swimming, gardening and for the most part wearing masks. At Musante Beach in Leeds, I talked to Kate Kelly who explained how careful she and her family have been during the pandemic. Her visit to the public beach with her two children was the first time her kids really had a chance to play with friends, and she talked about what a treat it was.

On a whim, I stopped by the Northampton/Springfield KOA in Westhampton. The manager, Michael Kelsy, told me the campgrounds usually open in April, but because of COVID they opened in May. Phase 3 is slowly allowing the site to offer activities like socially distanced mini golf and outside movie night. “The RVs,” Kelsy said, “are allowing people to take family vacations with a low amount of risk.”

As I drove through the campgrounds, I found Kathy and Hank Banas. Hank was on the top of their RV cleaning the roof. I pulled in, and Kathy pointed out the wooden sign that reads, “Motor home before nursing home.” The couple sold their home in Ludlow five years ago and now travel all over the country. They plan on staying in Westhampton until October and then heading to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, if things go well. “We love it, don’t miss the house for a minute,” Kathy told me. “We waved goodbye to the children and are living the dream.”

Of course, many people are feeling the stress of isolation. During a Zoom call with my mother-in-law, Francie Borden, I listened as everyone tried to brainstorm about how to make Francie’s life — which she feels COVID has made smaller — larger. Though the situation in Massachusetts is looking hopeful, parts of the West Coast and South are being turned upside-down by the pandemic, and we are all sitting with the reality that COVID is not disappearing anytime soon. The idea of winter looms, and I feel my mother-in-law’s worry. How will we keep from being isolated as the cold weather pushes us inside? 

That time is not here yet, so for now let’s enjoy socially distant visits outside, fresh berries and tomato sandwiches from the garden.

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