What do people do when traditional weekend activities are still closed and after being shut up in little apartments and home offices for weeks? They head to the hills.
Early Sunday morning, we packed up the kids and drove about 40 minutes to a large local park, Bear Mountain. There are nice hiking trails there, lakes to kayak, and lots of picnic benches and grill spots.
Those tables are a favorite of large extended families from New York City — working class folks without access to second homes on Long Island. On a good day, those areas are packed. This weekend, we got stuck in a hour long traffic jam trying to get there and were unable to ever leave the car. There were no parking spaces.
So, we drove over the Bear Mountain bridge to other side of the Hudson River, and found a less well known hiking trail — Castle Rock Park. With views of West Point, this trail was perfect.
We just booked a shore house in North Carolina for a week in June. It’s down the block from my in-laws, so we can check in on them, too. Their beach is pretty quiet even in the summer, so we’re not worried about social distancing at all. We won’t been able to do the usual things that help break up the time at the beach, like mini-golf and restaurants with crab cakes, so we’ll probably do more outdoor activities, like kayaking and biking.
Sure, there are some pockets of people partying in close quarters in a pool in the Ozarks, but most are finding places outside their homes to enjoy life, while keeping to themselves. My twitterfeed is full of outrage at these people and all sorts of bad behavior this morning.
I’m tired of outrage at the moment. We’re just doing our own thing here in Apt. 11D. Retreating into the woods. Plugging away at articles and jobs. Watching the little tomato plants grow. Watching the stray momma cat who lives by our stream take her babies out for longer walks from her nest.
I haven’t spent this much time outside — away from computer, gyms, restaurants, museums, and stores — since my babies were little and needed daily trips to the playground. It’s lowering my blood pressure and putting life in perspective.
I’m too chilled out to let myself get upset by the latest tweet from Trump or a viral video of a dog walker in Central Park. I’m too chilled out to overthink my latest article – wrote it, sent it out, no drama. I’m too chilled out to bother myself with people who are wrong on the Internet. My kids are not getting the education that they deserve and face an uncertain economic future; this does bother me, but it’s a low key buzz of stress, not a wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night meltdown.
We are reshaping our lives right now in many ways. One change is that I’m finding that I don’t give a flying fuck about things that I thought were super important just three months ago. Right now, finding a clear field to frolic with my nearly grown children is all that matters.