While things have been trending up for most of this month, yesterday in Ontario we saw the highest number of new cases ever: 700 new cases in one day. Not good. It’s unsurprising – a perfect storm of carelessness, rapid opening and cavalier attitude. (“Well, it hasn’t got me yet, I’m sure it’s fine!”)
While the governments have taken very light actions (“Let’s close strip clubs and make sure that bars are only open until 11PM. That’ll fix it!”), our family is locking back down. While I was doing grocery trips to stores before, I’ve gone back to curbside pickup of groceries wherever possible. Last week I was required to go to work for one day but this week I cancelled my trip in.
One thing hasn’t changed, though. Cycling keeps being a great way for me to get exercise, keep my spirits up while also keeping a good distance from others. And now, thanks to an early 50th birthday present I have a new toy:
At the end of my bike trip in India I gave my bike to my friend Jerry for him to take from Kashmir to Kanyakumari hopefully next year. But that left me short one bike if I want to ride with Daegan. And so I picked up this new (used) bike. Its former owner designed it to work well off-road and on and to be a good touring bike for places where the roads aren’t always good. He used this one on a trip to Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia but now is moving continents and is selling this. His loss is my gain – and Daegan can use my other bike when we go together.
Because it’s more sure-footed on dirt and gravel than my other bike, I was able to explore the Leslie Spit beyond the paved roads. It was perfect cycling weather, sunny with a cool breeze. There were a number of folks in the park but they were far apart, and the areas without paved roads were almost completely empty. Have a look at what it was like:
In light of the state of our province, and the world beyond it was so nice to have a bit of time alone with nature – a clear reminder that while we might be experiencing all sorts of challenges from the pandemic to election-related nonsense and poor governance in my former home, the rest of the world is going on. The birds are migrating as they always have. The leaves are changing colour and falling.
I shared this photo on Instagram last night when I took it and until I looked at it on a big screen I didn’t notice one of the most striking things about it. Let’s see if you notice it:
Through my phone screen it looked as peaceful as it felt. You could hear the water lapping at the shore, birds were calling – and there was not one human-generated sound audible. but look closer. Do you see it?
One aspect of this visit that was very noticeable when I was there but totally forgotten when I left were the enormous clouds of gnats here and there. They don’t bite but they got all over my face and arms. They’re about the size of a mosquito, fly in your eyes, mouth, and up your nose. They were so plentiful that at one point even though I was far from other humans, I considered putting my mask back on to keep them from bothering me.
What was striking about that was that they were incredibly annoying and yet I chose to put my attention elsewhere. My focus was not on these irritating little insects. It was on the fact that I am lucky not just to be alive in the middle of a pandemic, but to be able to ride somewhere like this and experience its beauty. And so, when I left my mood was incredibly positive. I was recharged by nature. How would my attitude have been were I to have focused on the gnats, been angry that they were ruining my wonderful natural experience (ha!) and gone home with that as my overall memory? I know I’ve let myself ruin other great experiences over the equivalent of gnats – annoying but not truly a problem. And so it was a good reminder to me that I should focus on gratitude and being positive, work to help / change where I can and forget the gnats of the world. They’re not worth ruining a good day for.