Walking in an Epidemic

Everyone has days when they feel better than others, but this is a first for me, experiencing a pandemic. As a history student, I’ve read about previous epidemics, but it’s a different level of knowledge to live it first-hand.

That said, it’s also true that, while serious, this COVID-19 outbreak is nowhere near as dangerous as diseases such as Ebola or Bubonic Plague. It is of course of great concern, and in discussing it as a family, we agreed that this is probably the most world-changing event of my son’s life. He’s coming up on 18 now, and when I think back on it, by the time I was his age the most world-changing event I had lived through was probably the moon landings – equally world-changing perhaps but at least a positive one.

It’s been interesting walking over the past few days. There are fewer people about, and fewer cars on the road. The shops are pretty packed, however – one of the 7 signs of the zombie apocalypse has to be the simultaneous clear-out of both toilet paper and baked beans from grocery store shelves – and there’s a weird vibe. No one wants to get too close to one another but being Canadian we don’t want to be rude either, so there’s a lot of smiles and after-yous as you enter the shops. The epidemic is no joke, to be sure, and taking sensible precautions mades sense, but now with many types of social gatherings being shut down the tendency is to hunker down and stay indoors.

For me, however, I’d rather get out and walk around in the open air, at least as long as I’m feeling healthy. That’s been my plan for the past few weeks, to be honest, but it’s been a slog staying motivated and getting out regularly when it’s grey and damp, slushy and muddy. I’m hoping we get a stretch of at least clear if not warm days, and then I’ll try to head down to the lake and walk in the fresh breeze.

So it’s a time to keep calm and carry on, I guess. While by no means the Black Death, this current epidemic is in its own way a reminder that we owe ourselves the rewards of health for as long as we are able to enjoy it. I’m going to keep going out as much as I can and thumbing my nose at fears and pestilence and that’s my advice – go for a walk in the sunshine and fresh air. Social distancing doesn’t have to mean becoming a hermit.

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