Category Archives: Strange Days

Winter Morning

A tree against the morning sky.

The mornings are grey in an Ohio winter. Even on days that turn blue in the afternoon, the morning seems to creep in slowly and turns the lights up gradually. It helps ease into the day for sure now that every day starts in the same way.

If there’s something to remember from this global ordeal for someone who was privileged enough to be a brain in a jar it is the monotony. Every day is so very similar. It numbs the mind from time to time and it creates a feeling of being weary. Not tired. Tired can be fixed by a good night’s sleep or a quick nap. This is weary. There is no physical rest that restores.

So we go to the parks. We breathe the cold air of early winter. We read and write. We consider things at depth. Or we simply watch and let go. Just for a moment.

More Snow

A snowy yard

The snow blinks in and out of existence at this time of year. There will likely be rain tomorrow for 10 minutes and it will all be gone. I enjoy these first few dustings. It’s so beautiful and brings a silence with it that I catch myself dreaming about from time to time.

March snow is a different beast altogether.

But this is November. November of what will undoubtedly be a long and grueling winter for many, many reasons. All of the self-inflicted wounds will be fully infected and inflamed by next week and we will have no choice but to stop everything again. Perhaps this time, we can plan for what we might do to make sure we’re not here again in March.

Some days are longer than others. Even in winter.

First Real Snow

A view of my snowy yard.

It wasn’t much, but it was snow. Most of the lawn was covered and there was enough out there for my daughter to go out and roll up a snowman. Today? It’s all gone and the grass is green. Mother Nature was just testing the room. It’s still chilly out and it’ll warm up in a bit and then head back down. Such is life in this part of the world.

I do love the transition from autumn to winter.

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.