What we perceive as a treasure changes over time.
In the depression of the 1930’s, a pack of gum might fit the description, which is why Jem Finch was lucky to have had that luxury left by his much-maligned neighbor, Boo Radley, in the book To Kill A Mockingbird.
Boo, as you may remember, placed those gifts in the hollow of a tree. It was a safe way to connect.
Treasure today is found not in a pack of Wrigley’s, but continues in that sense of connection sought by Boo Radley.
Consider the treasure that was created for us by the Durham-Middlefield Local Wellness Coalition as part of their latest family-friendly activity.
Throughout the month of December, the wellness coalition hosted a holiday tree hunt, encouraging residents to get outdoors and visit local parks, while learning some important things.
What did participants track down? Trees decorated in a festive manner, complete with a drug prevention fact, and a QR code with directions for submitting a photo of the find for a chance to win a swag bag. The adorned trees were found at Peckham Park, Wadsworth Falls, Miller’s Pond, Lake Beseck and Allyn Brook Park.
The value of the activity was not only in the safe connection it provided, and the facts that were shared along the way.
The physical and psychological benefits of immersing oneself in nature was another benefit.
According to the 2020 article “Nurtured by Nature,” published by the American Psychological Association, “[E]xposure to nature has been linked to a host of benefits, including improved attention, lower stress, better mood, reduced risk of psychiatric disorders and even upticks in empathy and cooperation.”
Harper Lee never had a chance to learn about the many ways connection is fostered today, but she knew that it mattered.
Members of our Local Wellness Coalition were probably not thinking of Lee’s quiet hero Boo Radley when they decorated trees across the district, but like the author, they remind us that those connections sustain us.
In addition to writing for the Town Times, Bronwyn Commins also works with the Local Wellness Coalition.