Taking a daily walk has changed in the last few weeks due to Covid19. I remember going on a walk just a month ago and sharing sidewalks with others out enjoying their walk or run. This is no longer our reality, things have most definitely changed with the addition of social distancing, and I can’t help but wonder if these new rules will be ingrained as habits. I hope not.
When taking a walk in the past there was a feeling of freedom. Now my walks with Brodie remind me of a video game. There is more to walking now then just enjoying the beauty of nature and the fresh air on your walk there is the newly added component of social distancing. It is as if you have to plot your course as in a video game. You look ahead and see all the runners, joggers, and walkers and begin your mental strategy of staying at least six feet away to fulfill the mandate and safety regulations to distance from others.
Sidewalks are usually not six feet wide. I now plan my walks by the width of the sidewalk and the ability to step off of said sidewalk for added distance. I no longer go walking in the woods due to the narrow trail and the fact that I can’t step off the sidewalk without going in the woods.
Most people are in tune with the distancing issue and they either step off the sidewalk when approaching and if they don’t I do. I have walked on the road beside the sidewalk more times in a few days then I have in my entire life. There have only been a few people that claim the sidewalk and disregard social distancing but that is rare.
As I think about my walks over the last few days many situations come to mind. Like the lady that was across the street today. She asked me to stop, I was four lanes away. I stopped and waited while she put something on the sidewalk. She said it was a treat for my dog. Then she walked quickly away. One young woman was jogging toward me the other day and jogged out into the road so we would have space, a car was coming and I said “Please be careful”, now is the time for drivers to be more aware of people in the streets. There were kids on the sidewalk one day, approaching me and two girls out jogging. The kids stayed on the sidewalk, I took the road and the girls took the hill beside the sidewalk. Everyone smiled and waved and we all kept going doing our best to stop the spread of the virus through social distancing thus helping to keep the stain on the hospital system, hopefully, lessened.
I still find joy on my daily walks with Brodie. I enjoy the beauty of the outdoors, the fresh air, and getting needed exercise. I have noticed that people seem friendlier. I think people are aware of the stress that everyone is feeling and go out of their way, even at a distance, to give a wave and a heartfelt smile of encouragement. For that smile and wave, I am grateful.