April 21, 2020

Look! A flower!


Eventually, everyone will be quarantined to their houses with no sports to watch… and in 9 months from now a boom of babies will be born… and we will call them Coronials.



This week Governor Baker put us on a stay-at-home advisory for at least two weeks, likely longer. Nonessential businesses are to be closed. Meanwhile, the cases of COVID-19 have skyrocketed both in Massachusetts and nationally. My family have all been deemed to be essential workers at this point, so this has had little additional impact on us. I went to the grocery store early Sunday morning and was able to find and purchase all that I needed.   I am shopping for what I need for a week only so that everyone else can get what they need too. So far, it hasn’t been an issue. I have plenty of dog food and have a delivery plan in place so that it gets replenished every six weeks. Waldo and I are still allowed to trek the rail-trail, so we plod along as usual, six miles a day.

Because being outside on the rail-trail is safer than indoor exercise at a gym, there are a lot of people on the trail these days. There are more people that are not working and need some way of passing the time and some of them are here too. Even though it’s been rather chilly, the path is full of bikers, joggers, roller-skaters, skate boarders, strollers with babies, old folks, parents, teenagers and kids of all ages and, of course, dogs. Waldo and I make a point to greet each as we pass. Most are agreeable and return our salutations — well, not Waldo’s kisses so much (though he does get a lot of pets, pats and scratches). Almost everyone is friendly and as sociable as you can get while keeping six feet away. There are no known cases of dogs passing the virus to humans, so it’s a safer alternative than getting close to or touching people and most dogs are appreciative of it. That’s a nice thing for those of us who like dogs as it gives us a way of making contact more intimate than an elbow bump. I don’t think Waldo is aware of any difference at all in our daily lives since the virus exploded in our midst.

The leaves in the trees stay in their bud-cocoons, but those of the smaller bushes and weeds are slowly hatching into daylight. They aren’t fully formed and still quite small, but you can see their leafiness if you look closely. I don’t think it will be long before we start seeing and smelling flowers; all it would take is a prolonged warm spell. Unfortunately, that’s not yet in the forecast – predictions are for temps to hover in the low fifties for the foreseeable future.

Birds are back in force, I hear a wide variety of calls and see a few. I’ve seen sparrows, robins, hawks, and even a cardinal. I’ve heard many more, but other than a crow’s caw, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what kind of bird is making the hubbub. I have heard the rat-a-tat-tat of a woodpecker at work, though. No Emmy-birds yet. Maybe they come with the flowers. I’ll have to pay more attention this year.

The rest of the rail-trailers seem to be enjoying nature as well. All seem to be pleased to have the time and opportunity to be outside, even when they need to be swathed in winter clothing. A few seem wary and avoid others with a wide birth, some are reserved and ignore Waldo and I as we pass, but most are happy and as sociable as you can get, given the circumstances. Some are happier than others and one, seeing Waldo trotting along with the omnipresent stick in his mouth, called him “the branch manager.” Another, seeing the leash go between Waldo’s front and back legs, a condition he seems to prefer, called out, “Look, he has a leash-wedgie!” Your head has to be in a good place to think of stuff like that. Walking out in nature may not cure the coronavirus, but it is certainly good therapy for it.

Waldo and I are more than happy to share our beloved space and time with others. I just hope it doesn’t get so popular that they have to shut the rail-trail down because it’s impossible to maintain social distancing. Until then, take a break, walk a bit, or bike, or skate, or whatever pleases you. Get outside and enjoy what nature has to offer and remember the larger part of where we come from.

Waldo and I will be here, willing to share with a warm greeting, a smile, a wagging tail and a stick or two.


Spring is not far away!

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