Category Archives: Strange Days

Time

Colorful autumn trees.

I set goals. Every year I try to lay out a three year plan. It’s a little obsessive, but it keeps things moving and gives me a North Star for navigation in decision making. Every month, I re-evaluate them. And quarterly, I do a brain dump to see if what I’m thinking about now squares with where I wanted to go. I tried to do my monthly review at the beginning of the month and the associated brain dump and…it all stopped.

I looked at the different categories and some of them are just…meaningless in our current climate. So many things either don’t matter anymore or are not achievable that I have to toss out major chunks of The Plan.

Now look, I already did that when we made a massive move to another state during a global pandemic. But even the last bits of lattice I had from The Plan in the Before Times is now gone.

My wife and I walked the dogs at the park Sunday. It was quiet and beautiful. The trees are lit up in colors and the dogs got good and tired. I felt much calmer after that (and before the puppy threw up in the car on the way home). It occurs to me that I need to give more room to the recreational. Maybe what I need are goals around things that aren’t capitalized in “Plans.”

I’m starting to see that we’re not going back.

Outside

A campfire.

Parks. Hiking. Camping. Bicycles. Kayaks. It’s been all outdoors, all the time for a lot of people since the COVID train left the station. I will argue that this switch in how we spend leisure time, or how we keep ourselves sane, is a net positive from these Strange Days. For our family, one of the only activities that has managed to stay somewhat in tact is Scouting.

Scouts are very good at following rules. Things like masks and distancing are taken very seriously. I saw some pretty solid behavior on the part of some Webelos this weekend as they prepared for a hike and enjoyed a cooking demonstration by yours truly.

Yes, I was in fact gloved and masked during all food prep. We minimized at every step. The Scouts had a great time and so did the adults.

Since I was doing the cooking, I didn’t get to enjoy the adventure of wandering less than maintained trails with excitable fourth graders, but it’s the sacrifice we make for the program, right?

It was a beautiful day. Perfect temperature. Sunny. Breezy. The trees were colorful. It was everything one could ask for in a fall day of hiking. We could all relax and enjoy some time in the open air. It feels good. That’s why we’re all doing so much of it. Funny that we might have forgotten.

Heading Out

A daypack.

For years, the arrival of autumn was a time to bug out. Bags would be packed, a car loaded, or a train boarded. I would head out to Somewhere Else. I do get a strong sense of wanderlust in the summer, but when the air gets cool and the leaves turn, it feels like it’s time to hit the road. To bug out. To head off to… I don’t even know anymore.

This winter, we have our new home. We have new traditions to build. We’ll have to find a pumpkin patch and a place to get a Christmas tree. Our old traditions will need some minor tweaks.

But there’s an empty backpack over there. There are checklists. There’s gear that seems ready to go.

Cozy

A beagle on a pair of slippers.

Cooler weather brings the zoomies to the pups. It also brings evenings where it’s nice to curl up and be warm. We have a fireplace and that’s grand. The dogs like to be close to it and it brings something of the far off olden times with it – despite the fact that we turn the fire on and off with a switch.

The weekend promises to be cool. Perhaps sunny, but cool. There’s a hike with the Scouts coming up and maybe a little field time with my new toy. More about that nerd radio stuff soon enough.

For now, it’s good enough that it’s Friday and maybe I can get some rest.

Autumn

Patio with flower pots.

The light is a little more golden now. The grass has extra days between mowings. Leaves are starting to drift down from the locust trees and some of the maples are bursting into colors not seen in a year. The sun picks and chooses when it will show and the temperature is guess work even with tech that tells us what it measures outside.

The time we have to sit on the patio and breathe the cool air is limited. It’s precious. My family feels this and we’re getting outside as much as we can now. Quick hikes. Runs up and down the block on scooters. Dog walks that meander a bit. The last runs on the bikes. It’s that beautiful moment before we close the doors and windows for a while.

My wife hates it. I proudly proclaim, “This is the weather of My People!”