Saturday, March 14, 2020

Coronavirus Epicenter USA: A View from Seattle

When just 3 weeks ago I wrote about 2020 being a year of firsts, I did not anticipate that we would soon start experiencing our first global pandemic in over a century.

Welcome to uncharted territory. Nobody on the planet has lived through what's happening now.

I'll admit to simmering anxiety in this surreal, vaguely dystopian new reality here in Seattle. Sometimes it boils up to the surface, like last week when I was working a ton of overtime, juggling three projects on top of each other, and reading doomsday scenarios.

But since I stopping reading all the scary stuff and started getting outside more and taking long walks, things are back in balance. Seeing the new season begin to unfurl with bursts of exquisite spring green has been a wonder and a balm.

In the last year I read a few books that focused on the health benefits of being in the woods and in nature. I'm definitely leaning on regular doses of Vitamin N (nature) and O (outdoors) for sustenance.

Between almost daily walks near my home and weekly wild swimming plunges, life feels relatively normal, if quieter. But then, I've worked from home for years, so my normal routine hasn't been upended that much. Just a lot less socializing out.

While the brunt of what is happening hasn't hit me full force, and to this point none of my friends or family have been affected, we'll see in the weeks ahead.

But the simplicity of dialing back my often hectic life of running around town and beyond, trying to do as much as possible, is actually an interesting time out. Going down to the beach near my home to watch the sunset when the skies are fully or partially clear is a highlight now. 

for me, there are some upsides to the current situation: 

  • I foresee finally being able to use those many nice hand lotions I've received as gifts to soothe my chapped, frequently washed hands. :)
  • I'm losing weight because of the long walks and cooking healthy meals rather than eating out regularly.
  • Been seeing lots of neighbors, physical and virtual, reach out with kind offers to help those older and infirm. 

Of course I don't want to belittle the pain of those who have lost loved ones. We can only hope that "social distancing" and more such measures will slow down the spread and, ultimately, stop it. 

And also taking a big hit are restaurants, arts venues, and more. Seattle's vibrant restaurant and cafe scene is already seeing closures.  Today I spent more $$ than I normally would at two bakeshops (Preserve & Gather and Coyle's Bakeshop)  and family-owned Taki's Mad Greek Restaurant, where the proprietor was clearly stressed at the huge dropoff in business and catering orders.

So far, for me, it's the solace of nature and watching the season transition from winter to almost spring that's helping the most. And of course talking to family and friends.

So please be mindful, follow all the sensible suggestions for cleaning, and take good care of yourself. Humor is a good thing too. (A friend told me that Seattle's homegrown pizza chain Pagliacci's was offering a special COVID-19 pizza with 19 toppings. He had me for a second.)

How are you? I'd love to hear how you are coping/feeling. I promise I'll check for comments and respond within a day or less!

Happy trails and thanks for visiting Pacific Northwest Seasons! 

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