The Great Reward has been an interesting observation tool in the last 6 weeks. I changed up my route to accommodate more miles and a hill. I was a little too comfortable with my 3 mile route around the neighborhood, even though I enjoyed seeing some of the same folks out in their yards on my speed walking adventures. I think they started calling me "The Flash". It could be a compliment or could be a joke. Either way, I'm getting a cape.
One of the reasons I changed my route initially, was because our little city was becoming very crowded. The traffic was increasing day by day. The tension was palpable. I wasn't enjoying my walks.. I was merely slogging through. So I chose a different path.. and it was sweet. But not enough milage... and dang-it.. I was feeling the extra chipage.
Then all of life changed.
I really love my family. In order for them to keep loving me, I had to start walking more. I decided to take on the old route and hill. It was awesome. Very few cars.. and a LOT of walkers, runners, rollerbladers, jugglers. Ok, no jugglers, but once I did see a dude walking and juggling on the route. It was cool. Or maybe he was on a unicycle. Maybe he had a pony.. I can't quite remember the details, but I knew he was juggling. Another walker I would see consistently in the old hill days, was a gentleman most likely in his 80's. He had a beautiful steady pace and was always holding 2 pound weights. I hope he is still walking somewhere. Haven't seen him for awhile. Maybe he changed routes too.
With all of us sheltering in place, yet still allowed to get outside and exercise, it created this lovely scene. More people than ever (since we have lived here) were out with their families. They left their cars at home...because, really... where would you go? It felt like a tiny Utopia for a few weeks. The Great Reward was paying dividends. Got to listen to awesome podcasts, wave to the families, get my miles in and then eat chips. The serotonin boost that comes with the walk is an extra bonus too. When mama is happy... well, you know the rest.
THEN y'all.. last week happened. The people were restless... they were given a little more leeway... and what did they do? They got back in their cars. Well, some had to get back in their cars. But some didn't. But now they were not on the hill. And there was a lot more traffic in Utopia. And that kind of made me sad.
I can feel the vibration changing. Folks are ready to get back to work or back to a kind of normal. It has been a huge sacrifice staying home. Some people's business' and lives will be forever changed. We can only pray that things will rebound peacefully, healthfully and soulfully for all.
For a moment though, we could sit in our backyard in the middle of the Austin Texas suburbs and hear, well, nothing. The stars, moon, planets seemed brighter. The birds in the morning... oh Glory!! In the midst of flattening the curve, we experienced Peace and Tranquility. Gifts of the quarantine, I guess.
Maybe we could keep the peace for a little while longer. Maybe we could create a Conscious Quarantine, once we are allowed to roam free. Wouldn't it be cool if we started honoring Sundays again? Or any other day of the week, for that matter. Maybe a Tuesday. Yeah.. Take off Tuesdays. Or Work From Home Wednesdays. Thursdays are too close to the weekend and kind of give that air of "It's Almost Here".. Fridays are the weekend.. and Mondays are a necessity for us to get things moving. So I vote Tuesday or Wednesday.
Keep the cars home. Sing along with the birds. Find some stars. Walk some hills. Meet some neighbors. Take up juggling. Buy a cape.
below: The Great Reward.. with no traffic. A wee miracle.