A Creek Runs Through It

March 22, 2020 (2 for 2!)

I took a walk yesterday afternoon.  It was one of the odder experiences I’ve had in a while, going out in the middle of the day and seeing a car in every driveway.  Typically my town at 2 PM is reserved for retired folks, stay-at-home moms, and seasonal employees of historic architectural attractions.  This felt more like Christmas morning. And although the sun was forcing me to shed my jacket, not a single kid played outside on a single lawn.

If you can’t picture my town, just know that it’s too small for its own high school but somehow managed to attract its own self-serve wine bar.  Its social center is an independent coffee shop at the edge of a park. It was in this park, across the creek and down a ways from the coffee shop, that I lay in the grass to contemplate our new reality.

A cloudless sky unfolded above me.  Robins surrounded me at a safe distance, cocking their heads in my direction.  (Yet another reason I’m glad I’m not a worm.) A single turkey vulture enjoyed some air current I was not privy to.  The day had all the ingredients of Spring. Still, I couldn’t help feeling uneasy.

I had seen a note taped on the door of the coffee shop.  Printed on red paper for emphasis, it informs customers that the store is closed until further notice.  No more coffee — and no more social center — for who knows how long. It’s a measure to keep people from harm, and I wouldn’t get in the way of that.  But knowing I couldn’t go inside even if I wanted to suddenly brought these trying times into focus.

I don’t feel qualified (that’s my excuse, anyway) to explain in detail why it’s for the best.  All I can say, post-walk, is that we’ll get through it. My town, and yours too. We’ll make it work.  Case in point: the owners of that wine bar put out a bushel of free cut-your-own balloons yesterday to brighten the lives of families walking by. Still, I await the day when I can stroll in the sunshine by the creek with iced latte in hand.

These, they are my people, and this is all I know: the longer this goes on, my friend, the stronger I will grow. -Capercaillie

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