New Growth

March 26, 2020

It’s getting crowded out there.  I don’t mean the roads: even the main highway through town has taken on an eerie post-apocalyptic quality.  Gone are those hordes of what I like to call “sun worshippers”, commuters who head east to Madison in the morning and west at night.

The foot traffic by the creek, however, is noticeably heavier.  I used to have the place to myself. Now I pass joggers, dog walkers, and families of all sizes (keeping six feet away, of course). Some of them look determined, like they’re starting an exercise regimen. Others were likely driven outside through sheer boredom.  I couldn’t be happier to see people taking walks, but I wish they would spread out a little.

Travel one block north or south of the creek, and you’re in a ghost town.  Clearly some families have shut themselves in. I imagine I’m being watched out of every window.  On my walk last night, despite the mild weather, hardly a soul tinkered in their garage or mowed their lawn.

One exception was an older couple puttering around their garden.  The woman waved, her face hidden by shrubbery. The man gestured to where a few green shoots poked through the leaf litter at his feet.

“There’ll still be life after this,” he announced to me.  I wasn’t sure if “this” meant winter, COVID-19, or something else.

“I hope so.” I sounded gloomier than I’d intended.

He was right, though.  Spring isn’t going anywhere — and neither, apparently, are we.  Seeing the two neighbors inspecting their turf reminded me of the projects I hope to start during this time. Start them I will, but I don’t plan on rushing. If that cleaning project takes longer than usual, or if I tack twenty minutes onto my nightly walk by the creek, so be it. It’ll still get done and (I wager) I’ll enjoy the process a little more. Then I’ll do it all again the next day. Slowly.

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