COVID-19 anxiety reduction marathon


Tiny Wild ginger (Asarum caudatum)

A week into our "stay home" directive here in Oregon, with rumors swirling that we'd soon be more strictly confined to our homes, Ann & I decided we needed a LONG run. We started with this 27 mile route, but updated it to avoid the notorious Firelane 4 and ended up with a bit over 26 miles-- basically, a marathon.

The result was a long day spent outside together, in the fresh air and burgeoning spring greenery, really enjoying the moments as they happened. We both finished feeling better, having released some of the anxiety of the onslaught of being cooped up at home, the scary news headlines, and all the unknowns of the current pandemic.


A great message for the present

It's no surprise that the sunny skies and warm temperatures brought lots of folks out onto the trails, but we were not prepared when we turned down tiny Ridge trail and ran into LOTS of people. There was a group of three or four people who turned down the trail ahead of us. Two people who came down behind us, which made us feel trapped in between them. A group of folks hanging out, sitting on a fallen log with their dog, and another group who was coming up the trail and stopped to chat with the log-sitters. Deep in the middle of our long run, enjoying our relative solitude together and discussing fears of viral transmission, getting stuck in this crowd was not what we wanted.

We tried to pause and wait patiently, but everyone else seemed to be enjoying each other's company. Finally, we pushed past the gathering, only to run into a few more groups of people farther down the trail. One older woman, talking on her cellphone, told the person on the call that she had to go because she was going to "say hello to another dog, unless we're doing social distancing." "WE SHOULD BE," blurted Ann, as we scooted past. We were shocked at the disregard for medical recommendations and everyone's own health. And we vowed to avoid Ridge trail-- just one third of a mile!-- for a long time to come.

Cedar found these vertebrae... quite large and clean

Happiest of all was Ann's dog, Cedar, who found a big bone in the form of three or four vertebrae still connected, deep in a clump of huge sword ferns down the slope off the side of the trail. The bones were clean, so they had been there a while, and big enough that we made lots of morbid jokes about the trope of runners finding bodies on their morning routes.

Beautiful trillium unfurling
Despite everything happening to the humans of the world, spring is unfurling around us. I hope that everyone reading this has a chance to pause and observe the beauty of nature. It's been my anchor to sanity during this epidemic. Here's to more miles with those with whom you share a vector, or spaced appropriately 6 feet apart!

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