For many the pandemic inspired people to get out on the trails, into parks and exploring nature, maybe for the first time, maybe to places they have never been. For me, the pandemic had the opposite effect. All of the places I usually find solace in a quiet exploration I found teeming with people, uncomfortable, crowded and unpleasant. The trails that brought me peace and an opportunity to contemplate and observe were now obstacle courses of bikers, joggers and walkers. And so I avoided my favorite places.
6 months into the pandemic, my friend and I began venturing on early morning bike rides. The area was opening up. Group activities and businesses were finding their new way to engage people and less people were hitting the trails, especially early. Eventually, after quite a few bike rides, I felt I could walk, and contemplate and recharge and observe out in my favorite natural places again.
Ahhhhh… Breathe in…. Breathe Out…
Listen to the crunch of the gravel under your feet…
Listen to the rippling of the creek down below…
Stop every five seconds to take another photo of the beauty that surrounds you.
The Perkiomen Trail, my favorite stretch being the Crusher Road Access to Spring Mount, felt peaceful and accessible and enjoyable again.
It is not that I stopped exploring nature during my Pandemic Pause from the Perkiomen Trail. Interestingly early on in the pandemic car traffic became so light I felt comfortable walking the narrow, unlined, hilly, curving roads around my home and began taking suburban safaris finding two 3.5 mile routes that took me past all kinds of nature I hadn’t noticed before. Over the months I discovered native plants I thought I had to drive someplace else to see and watched the changing of the seasons right close to home.
On this day I managed to time my morning walk just right to capture the essence of autumn in the sunrise and the wildflowers. Back to my happy place, a little bit of feeling normal, in this crazy new world.
There was some evidence of the crazy I missed while avoiding the trail over the summer. Notice the trashcan stuck high up on the trees in the photo below. A remnant of the intense flooding storms we experienced over the summer.