• Ellen Harris

Gratefully, Peacefully, Wisely Zooming Out of 2020 Into 2021!

Today is a time for reflection on this last day of the year. I basically used the title of this posting last year, except that instead of jumping out I’m zooming out of 2020 into 2021. And although it’s been a hell-a-fide year, I’m still leaving it with gratitude, peace and wisdom.


In January 2020, I started the year doing a 10-day travel picture challenge. I almost never do challenges, but the universe must have known that something crazy was about to happen and that my travel wings would be clipped for the coming year. Some of my favorite pictures highlighted trips from years past to Norway, Korea, Nepal, Italy, and Portugal.

February was Mississippi Delta wet. By early March I was wondering whether to clean out my raised beds and prepare for the spring; but a little nudge to do so came from FB Grits and Gumbo community. On March 15, Cookbook Club Sunday Dinner was cancelled as the beginning of the COVID pandemic was rearing its formidable head. Cooked alone that day and sent wishes of good cheer to those who would have shared a meal with me that afternoon.

On March 21, launched the Table & Plate Project Delta podcast followed by 8 more episodes. Took a hiatus by August 29 because I’d wanted to talk in-person with folks and couldn’t get used to social distancing remote conversations.

Ended the month cleaning out raised beds and planting tomatoes, herbs, jalapenos, sweet peppers, kale and flowers. Throughout this time tried to eat healthy, but sometimes stressed out with potato chips and Modelo Negro beer.

By April started vocalizing daily meditations for peace of mind and to keep social distancing at bay. Meals remained healthy most times, but kitchen table was solidly now my work-at-home fulltime table.

In May, started walking or biking almost every day. Daily highlights were checking out the growth in my garden and crafting delightful meals.

With all the craziness going on, summer became my saving grace. Raised bed garden delivered a bumper crop throughout the months; so much so that I was able to give some to friends and neighbors.

Dehydrated fresh peaches gifted to me from GA colleagues; went crazy after that hydrating apples and tomatoes. That same weekend pickled garden grown cucumbers and jalapenos.

Held virtual Cookbook Club Sunday Dinners; celebrating Juneteenth, fall season, and the end of the year.


All were fun, but for the December 27 dinner we added a reading, yoga, holiday mixology, meditation, and lots of conversation about food with friends topped off with a pre-birthday celebration for me.

At fall’s end, closed out the raised beds at the old house and set them up along with a small hoop house at my new abode.

During all this time, I missed teaching yoga classes, but couldn’t raise my spirit enough to teach them virtually. Instead, I created a course, “Bring Your Own Self to Zen,” and taught it for 5 weeks October 28 – Nov 25. Encouraged by participants to continue holding it next year.

Moved into my new home October 26 and gratefully watched my hoop house/garden flourish. Continued to bike indoors with a bike trainer. Early December, birthday present to myself was finishing my meditating yogini and naming her after my grandmother, mother and me – Emma Ruth Ellen.

On this last day of the 2020, I cooked a simple meal of greens from my garden and black-eye peas on a bed of rice.

Throughout the year, I chose to follow words like persevere, be resilient, move boldly, self reflection, protect your spirit, mediate, breathe, move your body, live simply, be you, self care, love yourself, take care, create, be wise, and live life in full color. January 2020, I started with wisdom, peace, and gratitude. With grace, I’ll end on December 31, 2020 with them as well.




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