2020 – Don’t Tell Me NO! #pandemic #covid19

I thought this quote in a book I recently read matches how we feel with COVID-19 restrictions.

“Tell me that I can’t do something and I will do it twice just to prove a point.”

Shelter in Place, Stay Home, and Lockdown are all foreign terms. They make me feel like I’ve been put in a time out.

My patience is wearing thin. I want to throw a temper tantrum like I did as a child. Invisible germs are hard to imagine. I’m sick and tired of hearing about SOCIAL DISTANCING. It’s overwhelming and depressing to think about how and when this will end. This was from an interview on NPR.

The current California order states “Californians can walk, run, hike and bike in their local neighborhoods as long as they continue to practice social distancing of 6 feet.” Because many believe it’s much riskier to go shopping or walking in their neighborhood than it is to drive elsewhere, the order doesn’t seem to carry much weight. For the first three weeks, I didn’t drive. When zero social distancing became my community norm, I gave myself permission to seek some solitude outside my neighborhood.

It felt wonderful to be back on dirt. It was clear others felt the same. I wasn’t alone but I saw far fewer people than I did in my neighborhood. Of course on single track, social distancing was impossible when passing.

Hiking among spring blooms was just the medicine I needed. Sure I left my neighborhood, but did I adhere to the spirit of the order? If I posted my outing on social media, I’d surely be shamed, bullied, and judged. There aren’t any easy answers in this new world.

Quite regularly I feel the pull to say screw it, I’m going backpacking. I can become part of the secret society. But then the guilt creeps in. The what if’s. What if I were to get hurt? in a car accident? become ill? Andrew Skurka recently published this thought-provoking article, “Discuss: When & how will backpacking be safe & feasible again?

Thoughts to ponder as we move toward less restrictive pandemic orders.

I fully anticipate a second wave of positive tests and subsequent deaths as a result of the lessening restrictions. Personally I’d rather confront bears than continue to avoid exposure in my community.

I can tell you I don’t want this to be my new norm.

This post is dedicated to my friend, Tell Me No, who was planning to thru hike the PCT this year. While the PCTA doesn’t have the authority to close the trail, many sections have been closed by public agencies. Furthermore given community impact and associated risk presented by travelers such as hikers, the PCTA has clearly promoted their desire for trail avoidance. “Due to COVID-19, you are legally required to avoid non-essential travel and shelter-in-place throughout most of the U.S., including in California, Oregon, and Washington. Long-distance hiking on the PCT is non-essential travel. For everyone’s sake, it’s time for you to do your part and cancel or postpone your long-distance trip.”

This poem written by my friend Melissa matches my feelings about the Stay Home order.

My neighborhood’s crowded.
I just can’t go out.
I tried doing yoga, Pilates, and squats.
But my legs are just itching for climbing the hills and the mountains, river gorges too.
I can go outside, but how retracted my view.
In the foreground are flowers, lavender and poppies.
But fences and power lines block out the vistas I once knew.



2 thoughts on “2020 – Don’t Tell Me NO! #pandemic #covid19

  1. I’m tired of it also. OK, we get the pandemic, it’s real. How about everyone using common sense now and think about how to stay safe. No different than during flu season but I knew friends who went to work or into public places when they should have stayed home. Because of Covid-19 we’ll wash our hands more and wipe down and clean high use surfaces. These things should be done on a regulary basis anyway. I tend to think more about health care workers during this crisis and how overwhelmed they are, so for now we should get this under control a bit more, for their sake. Going forward lets think a little more about our actions and consider others.
    A month or so before this crisis started my wife was in Fred Myers picking up a few things. She went to the bakery section to get a free cookie they usually have on the counter. Next to the tray was a box of tissues with a sign asking to “please use a tissue”. Well there was a man and his daughter who just reached in and grabbed a cookie. My wife saw this and said, “you should use a tissue if you want a cookie”. The man said, “it doesn’t bother me”, and her daughter said, “it doesn’t bother me either”. My wife said, “well it bothers me”, and off they went. Really! I wonder if they would do that now.
    So this is what I’m talking about. Maybe this is a wake up call for everyone going forward. Lets learn something from this. I miss the spring blooms too.

    • Thanks for your thoughts John. Based on my observations, I think we’ll see a 50/50 response. I’m already seeing it. 50% are taking reasonable precautions of which 25% are taking extraordinary precautions. I believe I’m in the latter group. Then there is the other 50% who share varied opinions about the situation such as they’ve already had the virus, if they are going to get it they’ll get it, or the 25% who don’t have a choice. They are the front line workers including the store clerks who I believe are one of the most exposed. I’m happy to be in an area with low incidence thus far, but as a result I see a major cavalier attitude. Until it hits someone you know, it’s hard to take it seriously. Traffic is busy, as are parking lots, trails and stores. I’m surprised at what is considered essential, both in terms of travel or open stores. Few are practicing that hated word, social distancing, or wearing masks. I’m not waiting for the government to tell me what is common sense. I believe you too are in that crowd. Stay well my friend.

      PS I’ll be sharing more spring blooms I’ve found while jaunting locally.

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