Rainbows are often thought of as a sign of hope and peace after enduring rough weather. While it’s not hurricane season, I’m sure we can agree that the impact of COVID-19 has felt like weathering an unrelenting storm.
From one week to the next we had to prepare for a different lifestyle. Our commitments and appointments that were nonnegotiable parts of our schedules suddenly disappeared. It was no longer considered safe to attend community events or take our children to school. Social distancing led to feelings of isolation. As the weeks go on, I know I’d found myself searching for those rainbows of hope.
This yearning for hope began a trend that has been seen across the world and has made its way through Oakland Park. Children have been encouraged to create their own rainbows and display them in their windows. Families are pulling out paint, crayons and any supplies they have on hand to share these symbols of peace with the community.
I spotted this one during an afternoon walk around the neighborhood. Nine year old Andrew of Oakland Park created these colored hearts and formed them into the arch of a rainbow. He included messages of gratitude in each heart like, “Thank you Doctors, nurses, paramedics, firefighters, essential workers, volunteers and everyone doing their part!” and “We will get through this together by staying apart”.
In the blue heart, Andrew wrote a quote from William James with the intention of inspiring his neighbors. It says, “It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.” These beautiful rainbows and messages serve as reminders that we in Oakland Park are in this together. We may be physically distant from each other but we are still a close knit community.
Mother and Son, Lisa and CJ Jones decorated their neighborhood sidewalk with this chalk rainbow. When asked for his reasoning, CJ explained: “I wanted something fun for people to look at on their walks during lockdown.”
Strolls and bike rides around the community have been one of the few ways we’ve had to take in sunshine and let out some of the anxious energy after spending the majority of our days cooped up in our homes. “Hunting” for rainbows definitely adds a fun element to our walks.
When you are on your next venture out into the community, see if you can spot a rainbow. Better yet, take some time in crafting your own rainbow for others to see.
Together as a community, we can remain connected and share signs of hope and peace. We can show our children that things may be changing and feel different than it did a few weeks ago but our town remains united. We can remind each other that while we may be weathering a storm, we can look towards hope.
Christine Chaparro is an Oakland Park native and lives in the neighborhood with her husband and three kids. She is slated to graduate from Florida International University this summer with her Bachelor’s degree in Writing and Rhetoric and hopes to show her children that any obstacle can be overcome with the right attitude and hard work.
When she is not writing or submerged in school work, she is creating memories with her family. She enjoys crafting, building, renovating, gardening and cooking. Competition is big in the Chaparro house whether it be super-soaker fights, pranks or board games. Miami Heat basketball and Florida Panthers hockey are her two favorite teams to cheer on. Her family loves the Oakland Park events and supporting local businesses.