I had to take myself by the hand to get outside on Monday afternoon. Not because it wasn’t sunny, because it was. Or really too cold, because it was 57°F, though there was a brisk breeze. Or same-old-same-old, because there was plenty to see—daffodils, crocuses, even some hyacinths in bloom; the crimson and chartreuse hint of new foliage on street maples; our neighbor’s fairy garden, which changes themes every few weeks. This afternoon, it featured painted eggs encircled by multi-colored pebbles.
No, my resistance was mainly to the idea of just getting up out of my chair and stepping out of my nice, warm house. Even as I am officially two weeks past my second Moderna vaccination as of Tuesday midday, it’s hard to shake my Covid habits of seclusion.
On Sunday, Al and I took a hike at a local state park, and I realized that it had been weeks since we’d gone out in the woods together. It’s been too cold or I’ve been too tired or just not inspired. As I walked around our neighborhood on Monday, it suddenly struck me that this was the first winter in decades that I have not put snow tires on my car. I simply haven’t needed them, because I haven’t been driving much at all. Introvert that I am, I’ve managed just fine working at home, as I have for the past decade, Zooming only online, and otherwise slowing way down when it comes to socializing.
But now, with spring and vaccines and longer daylight once again, getting out seems more possible. We have a weekend getaway planned for my birthday soon. I’m starting to daydream about more extensive travel in the fall, when we know more about variants and how long the vaccines protect us.
At the same time, I find myself hesitating. I’ve been living in my turtle shell for so many months, even with sporadic, small outings to see my doctors in person, or for occasional errands or hikes, that the idea of actually going out daily, like I used to, seems a bit intimidating. Will it really be safe? Do I want to expend all that energy running around again?
Just as I had to acclimate to confinement, I now have to re-acclimate to getting out in public. It will take me some time and practice. And experience, poking out my head, discovering that I can actually stay healthy with more exposure to more people, that I can put up with masking for however long it takes, and that there is still much joy to be found in our troubled, troubled world.
Image: Joshua J. Cotten