Not only has it been a year, but it has been one like no other! Why do I say this?
Well, a year ago I began to physically distance myself from people, cover my nose and mouth with a bandana or neck gaiter, until I learned a facial mask would better, to protect me from the airborne contagious Covid-19 virus. How could I not be concerned given the fact any virus at other times in my life made me feel lousy for a couple of weeks and this virus is reported to be worse!
Wearing a mask when near people, especially when within 6 feet of a person did take some getting used to, just as doubling my masks now as recently recommended by the scientists. To me, an airborne contagion means no indoor space for periods of time, but outdoor activities are many. I have taken a break from my tennis and pickleball playing, despite them being outdoor activities, because I did not want the stress of interacting with people who may or may not think mask-wearing or physical distancing important. It has been easier and more enjoyable for me to do solo activities or be with individuals within my “bubble”.
During this past year, I read more books, listened to audiobooks, started to sketch birds, bought bird feeders for the backyard to begin learning about birds, which eventually fueled my interest in bird photography. Stimulus check money went to organizations, such as Feeding America, Shelter Box, and some to camera equipment. I found myself driving to birding locations, listening to an audiobook along the way, and hiking an area to observe and photograph birds as my way to be outdoors, active, and safe from the virus. The majority of bird watchers seemed to respect the importance of face masks and physical distancing too when a group may congregate at a birding hot spot.
Reading the news and watching it on television this past year has been distressing most times. Reports of police brutality, especially with the death of George Floyd, boiled into numerous protests. The increased number of coronavirus cases and deaths, along with disrespect for what scientists stated as what each of us could do to “flatten the curve” seemed to fall on deaf ears. This was distressing while many Americans also followed misinformation. Coronavirus cases increased and our businesses, schools and country’s economics faltered while nurses and doctors at hospitals were overwhelmed. UPS, USPS, FedEx and Amazon delivery trucks seemed to be everywhere everyday while essential workers, such as the drivers of those vehicles and other delivery services, and those who worked in grocery stores, nursing homes, and medical centers services available. The news each day became more depressing as milestones of deaths were reported and videos of people at large group celebrations with no masks worn seemed to indicate no concern for their fellow man. And when the country’s president at that time also disregarded what world and national health organizations reported and encouraged none of their guidelines to be followed, then my concern and worry only continued to grow.
What I cannot understand even a year later is why people still do not understand the science. There is information available to learn about the virus and how it spreads, but instead they would rather do what they wish and complain about their business or job not being available to them or their children at home not getting the best education, despite attempts to do so with their teachers through virtual learning. If we looked to other countries to see how they have been more successful handling the situation and incorporated any of those best practices we could also have been in a better position. Yet I notice many people in the USA not caring.
So here we are a year later with many people hesitant to be vaccinated. Scientists have accomplished an amazing task in having 3 different vaccines available for use within a short period of time. The scientific method was followed at each institution and accelerated which does not mean corners had been cut, so I wish people understood their work. While I am within the process of receiving my vaccine doses, I continue to spend time outdoors discovering the parks and places to roam where few people do. But I have discovered many other people realize the outdoors for hiking, bicycling and camping provide great opportunities for them too. Let’s get ourselves healthy so we can get back on an airplane and travel the world beyond our “bubble”. I’m doing my part to reach that goal, can you? I am ready to move on and see the rest of the world! How about you?