Amid all of the changes in the world right now, it’s nice to enjoy the small pleasures. Especially delightful, as always, are the forbidden ones, like (for us) walking on land.
While I think I’ve mentioned that I may not always follow the letter of the law, I want to be clear that I am not a rebel, nor do I flout rules that make sense. I just play hard in the gray areas.
I fully support what Grenada is doing to contain the virus and am complying with all of the critical aspects of the rules. I wear my face mask, I maintain my social distance, I don’t go to shore except when it’s a shopping day, etc.
I might occasionally walk farther than necessary to get to a store or, maybe once, I might have bumped into an outcropping of land that chanced to be in our path when I was with the children in the dinghy. This bit of land might have had a trail that meandered through the woods where there was no sign of anyone but us, hypothetically getting a break from life at sea.
I know everyone has a different tolerance for risk and mine is higher than most. I recognize that and, when I flit at the outer limits of the rules, I try to make sure that my actions won’t harm anyone other than myself and/or the members of my immediate family. As you might have guessed, I’m trying to reassure my mother 🙂
With all that said, I had a delightful hour-long walk to the grocery store the other day. With the addition of more shopping days, the long lines are a distant memory and, at least for the moment, we are able to buy what we need.
While I don’t think it’s against the rules to walk to the shops, I didn’t see many other people walking so I felt free to let down my mask and enjoy the sights and sounds. I reveled in the songs of birds (we occasionally hear seagulls but it’s not the same) and the smells of land. I do enjoy swimming but it’s just not the same as a walk on land. I’m sure part of the enjoyment is the forbidden-fruit feel of it.
One of the highlights of my walk was making connections with the people I passed. From the lady hanging her laundry who recognized me from the line at the local shop to the various people on their front porches, I realized how rarely we see people these days and what an enjoyable experience it is to simply greet a fellow human being.
On my way out to the store, I noticed a footpath that I guessed was a shortcut, cutting off a chunk of bendy road that pedestrians could skip. Here’s how it looked on the way out – you can see the worn part through the grass, that drops through a dip and into the brush. Inviting and open, right? Tempting to follow the path but where does it lead?
I decided to follow the road on the way out and try to find the other end so I could take it back. I asked a woman on her porch if she could tell me where the footpath met up with the road. She helpfully indicated the spot and, on the way back, I decided to take it.
The other side of the footpath was less inviting. It paralleled a junky yard (might have actually been a junk yard) whose junk spilled over and joined in with the forest. Had the woman been in any way hesitant about showing me its starting point, I might have skipped it. But she expressed no hesitation and there was no one around so I took advantage of the opportunity for a small adventure. The start of the path is just to the right of the faded blue storage container in the photo below.
It was quite a bit less inviting than the other side, with the shadowy path heading deeper and deeper into the tangled forest, with rusted bits and trash intermingled with twisted trees and mangled fencing.
As is the case with most of my self-created adventures, the only real element of danger was in my imagination. No creatures sprang out at me, there was no one waiting in the underbrush or behind the rusty detritus to stop my passage. Very quickly, I passed out of the dark, gloomy section and back into the bright sunshine and the main road.
I finished up my walk by passing through the little town of Woburn where I am starting to recognize some of the locals. On this particular evening, it was only the chickens and the goats walking themselves home.
As my walk ended and I headed back to the dinghy dock at the bottom of the hill, I realized that the combination of a change of scenery, physical exercise, an element of risk, and, ultimately, sweet success at the store (sugar available!) transformed an ordinary outing into an expedition worth writing about, illustrating once again that it’s hard to appreciate what you have until it’s gone.