Take A Walk With Me

I know it’s raining buckets outside. It’s cold and windy, but the fresh air is calling me and I have a need to be outdoors to lose myself in my thoughts.

I gear up with all the necessities of the weather.

☔️ Waterproof boots? Check.

☔️ Raincoat and rain pants? Check.

☔️ Umbrella? Check.

☔️ Headband and gloves? Check and check.

I start to walk through the deserted streets of my neighbourhood, past tidy homes, and growing puddles on the sidewalks.

In front of one home, a man stands in front of his garage smoking a cigarette. I wave to him and he waves back. The small dog beside him gives me a single yap, as if to say that he too would like to take a walk in the rain.

I walk through the shared field behind an elementary school and junior high that back onto one another. The painted hopscotch game on the concrete calls to me. I was once a Hopscotch Diva as a child, but those days are long behind me.

I can barely hop, let alone risking bending over, balanced on one leg, to pick up a marker. Heaven forbid that I should have to leap over several boxes!

I hop through the first game on one leg, then the second game on the other leg. My left leg is still grouchy in spite of months of therapy, and it quickly makes its opinion known.

Hop. OUCH! Stumble. Unladylike exclamation!

I carry on, trying not to limp, to the nearby ravine. The small creek is heavily swollen with fast-moving water from all the rain.

The ducks are quacking. I imagine they are singing happily.

I cross the road to pick up the trail on the other side.

A city bus sits at the traffic light. It’s empty. It’s as if the world has forgotten to get out of bed this morning.

I stop to admire the small waterfalls created by the runoff from the streets, draining into the creek.

As I get closer to home, I approach a small strip mall – a reminder of this neighbourhood’s construction in the late 60s and early 70s. The amount of litter on the ground is increasing, but I’m most alarmed by the casually discarded face masks and latex gloves.

BAD HUMANS! Have you learned nothing?!

As I get closer to the strip mall, I notice the noodle place on the corner is open. Its bright LED sign is flashing proudly to the street. I’m dismayed to see customers inside, sitting down at tables, having something to eat. This is in direct disobedience with our current state of emergency.

Not for the first time I wonder if our species deserves to be culled.

I’m almost home now. I have not encountered a single person out walking. Even the cars have been few and far between.

I’m still warm and dry, although my gear is dripping wet.

I find myself smiling with satisfaction.

It’s time for lunch.

131 comments

  1. Hi Joanne,

    Lovely post and photographs as always! I felt I was walking with you every step of the way – while maintaining social distancing of course! 🙂
    I guess Nature has to do the culling every so often because we don’t want to get it. It amazes me that people are still committing crimes and in countries still bombing each other! I rest my case. Not sure what more needs to happen to this species before we wake up!

    Stay safe!

    Rashmi

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  2. I truly get it on needing to be outdoors, rain or shine. Your hopscotch made me a little teary, Joanne. I don’t know whether it is because of days gone by, or being all by yourself. Face masks and latex gloves is a new thing. An unfortunate reminder of the present. Wow, your post made me feel many emotions. Also, a sign of the times. Take care 💕

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    • These periods of solitude walking alone outdoors also makes me feel many emotions – some good, some bad – but I always come home re-energized.

      Only grocery shopping makes me come home feeling frazzled. Yesterday I tried something different and ventured out to shop at 7 pm. What a difference! I think I may have found my new preferred shopping window.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oooh, thank you for this, Joanne. The last time I went grocery shopping was over 2 weeks ago. We have basic supplies although fresh goods mostly gone and they don’t last too long. My husband and I have been in solitary confinement, oops, social isolating. Not a single soul except the 2 of us. That is another story. I am reading pages and pages of how to sterilize(?) food. I was a dental hygienist for over 25 years and I was exceptionally aware and took universal precautions. Anxiety at the thought of going anywhere, and I especially don’t want to bring anything home to ‘share’ with my husband. A common story right now. I look forward to connecting with you again, soon. 💕

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  3. I’m glad you were able to get out for a bit. I personally, would go stir crazy holed up in an apartment. I am fortunate enough to have the project house to work on and I have been working on irrigation these past two weeks so have been able to enjoy being outdoors every day. It’s so hot right now, record breaking into the 90s that I work for an hour and take a dip in the pool. Ahh…feel the coolness of the water.

    For the most part people have been following the safeguards where I live. We are not fully restricted, at least not until recently so I was able to get supplies from the store and some badly needed mulch for the yard.

    Friday was my birthday and I just couldn’t stand the idea of being cooped up at home. My original plans of going to DC to see the cherry blossoms and a show had to be cancelled and I was in kind of a funk. All the parks are closed but the beach is still open with social distancing. Rick’s knees can’t take walking on the sand so I was pleased to find the boardwalk was not restricted. But it was almost empty. The few people I saw reminded me of the creatures in the underworld. Skateboarders who say nothing and skate on by past the “No Skateboards” sign. All the shops were shuttered except two video arcades that had one or two patrons in them. As weird as it was…I needed to feel the wind on my face and to see and smell the ocean.

    I wonder what changes will become the norm after the virus is all said and done.

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    • Those of us with backyards certainly have an advantage over those stuck in apartment buildings. I get to walk outside in my backyard every day. We are now on day 4 of rain so my grand plans of beginning spring cleaning in the yard is on hold. Not that I’m disappointed. I hate yard work 😉
      As the weather gets nicer here it will be harder and harder to keep people indoors.

      Stay well. It sounds like you are happily busy. Glad you had the chance to feel the ocean breeze on your birthday 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Love the creek and the waterfall. Nature will always sustain us and revive us! How lucky to have that walk at your disposal…. Especially now more than ever.

    Here in Mexico it is beyond belief…. People are totally oblivious to the threat of Corona. It is quite alarming We are just taking our own precautions and avoiding going out in public other than the beach in the early morning and necessary supplies.

    Stay Safe and healthy.

    Peta

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  5. Thanks for taking us along on the walk, Joanne! Our restaurants are closed by Governor’s orders. They still have take out and delivery at some places. I haven’t done any take out, but we probably will soon so that we can help support some of our local businesses. We have been taking a walk at the nearby park. There are some people there, but everyone is making sure to maintain social distancing. That’s so disappointing to hear about the littering. Yes, you wonder if we will ever learn.

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    • It was my birthday 2 weeks ago and Husband ordered in using Uber Eats – something we had never done before. We ordered from a small local Thai restaurant we had never heard of before and the food was amazing. I hope this little place survives!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for bringing us along, Joanne. I haven’t seen many people while out walking. They are opening our trail, but I’m not sure it’s a good idea at this time.

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  7. A pastor at a mega-church in Tampa was arrested today for ignoring the CDC guidelines and safer-at-home directives. Instead of encouraging his congregation to watch on-line at home . . . he encouraged them to come to church. He held two church services yesterday with 100’s in attendance. He was charged with “reckless disregard” for public safety. Quel idiot!

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  8. What if all the people in the Noodle House were the Noodle House makers family and they were distancing together?
    What if they were a group of people who had had the virus and recovered?
    What if they had self isolated for two weeks and had no symptoms?
    What if they had taken the same precautions as health care workers who have to have their temperature taken before they go on their shift?
    I only mention these possibilities because I’ve seen a few of them in action here in my seniors community. They social distance in the larger sense, but socially mingle with a small group that they know is acting the same as them.

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      • It may also be entirely wrong – but we sure don’t want to ramp up the fear factor any more than it already is! We might all be in this together – but in reality, we are each responsible only to ourselves.

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        • Margy, don’t get me wrong. While I agree in principle that things are not always as they seem, I don’t believe for a minute that I’m fear-mongering. It is not my usual style to call out people for bad behaviour, but right now the stakes are too high.

          I may be asymptomatic and yet still be carrying the virus and capable of spreading it to others. That is one of the most unfortunate things about this virus. In this situation we cannot be responsible only to ourselves. That mentality will not stop the spread of this virus.

          In the province of Ontario, all restaurants, bars, and cafes are required to close their seating areas to prevent the congregation of people. Let’s hypothetically say all the people in this restaurant were close family members living together, then the “OPEN” sign for the restaurant would still have made this completely inappropriate – physical distancing or not. This restaurant was not in compliance with the current state of emergency.

          Any safeguards put in place to prevent the spread of this virus are only as good as the weakest links. That is not fear-mongering. It is simply a fact.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Marburg, Ebola, HIV, Smallpox, Hantavirus, 1968 Hong Kong Flu, 1957 Asian Flu, 1918 Spanish Flu, 1997 Bird Flu, 2009 Swine Flu, Dengue, Rotavirus, SARS, MERS. And the annual Flu Season. What is it about COVID-19 that has triggered a response that is so different than what the world has done in the past? Could it be the rapid and easy spread of fear?

            Since there is no vaccine (and probably won’t be one for some time) there is probably only one way to reach herd immunity in the shorter term- recovery, which means letting the majority of people catch the virus.

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  9. It was a lovely walk! I’m shaking my head at the people eating inside the restaurant! We’ve been getting take out with curbside service at a few of our favorite places, but we are not going in to sit and eat.

    Hopscotch- I still find a rock or something when I come across one and try to get through one round at least. That one round of hopping is a killer! You are good doing both legs!

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  10. No one out walking? Around here everyone is suddenly out walking. It’s amazing to me. I couldn’t do hopscotch now if my life depended on it. Nor could I play jacks, another childhood passion.

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  11. Thanks for taking us on your journey. Rain isn’t so bad for a walk as long as it’s not pouring with wind..:) I know what you mean about not seeing anyone It’s been eerily quiet. Even the cars are scarce. Strange times.

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  12. It was pouring rain here as well yesterday but we decided to stay home. We have been walking during the week and we find that there are more people walking in twos than we have ever seen. But it is strange to do wide circles to avoid meeting people; to keep our distance. I do hope we see the end of this crisis sooner than later… Take care and stay healthy. (Suzanne)

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    • I agree it is strange. I just discovered that I am holding my breath when I encounter people. I was out grocery shopping and found myself really out of breath by the time I finished. It hadn’t occurred to me beforehand that I was actually holding my breath!

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  13. Thanks for taking me along on your wet walk. I love a walk in the rain.
    I am so grateful that our restrictions at this stage still allow me out to run. As I’ve passed many families out for a walk together (as exercise is still an allowed activity to leave the house), I couldn’t help wondering at the irony that a disease may ultimately make our population healthier.

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    • We aren’t in complete lockdown yet either, although I thought for sure we would be last week. I’m going to take advantage of the outdoors while I am able. I tend to avoid people-y areas at the best of times so nothing has changed in that category.

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  14. Dear Joanne,
    thanks for taking us on this walk. We go out every day whatever the weather is like. We envy you for the rain. For weeks we have sunshine only and our garden needs desperately some water.
    Here in the countryside, you meet people in the lanes but everyone keeps distance and everybody talks and not only about the weather. Our neighbours turn a kind of philosophical.
    Stay healthy and happy
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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    • I would happily send you some rain if I could. Yesterday my husband sarcastically said “oh good, more rain. We need that”. The ground here is very soggy

      I think this global situation is making a lot of us considerably more grateful for the small things … like a walk outside.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Joanne
        We agree. We notice that we enjoy our daily walks much more now – and we do them regularly. The small things are adding up to a confortable quality of life. We have more time, more time for be aware now.
        Anyway
        keep well
        The Fab Four of Cley
        🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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  15. Well that was an interesting walk. Now I am beginning to understand your neighbourhood. Shame about the litter though, some poor b****rd will have to pick that up. It’s frustrating here because there are oodles of open spaces and beaches that we are not allowed to drive to. Breaks my heart as I have suffered badly this winter with the storms keeping me housebound, but life or death – no choice. At least governments will have less to fork out in pensions after this ends – sometimes I wonder…

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    • Litter always disturbs me. To me it just shows a general lack of disregard for the world around you.

      There is going to be a lot of catching up to do with everything when this is all over 🙁

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  16. It’s the wind that makes me want to stay home. Rain, as a rule, here on the prairie never lasts long but I do have the gear so will go out. The dog doesn’t care what the weather is.
    Thanks for such a deliciously written post. As someone else said too bad the litter and the noodle idiots added a dark side.
    Bernie

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    • Noodle idiots 😂 I like that!!

      There’s something quiet and peaceful about walking in the rain – unless of course the wind is blowing the rain horizontal and then it’s not so fun. Thankfully the wind was only bad enough to add a windchill and not take away from the zen-like moment 😊

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  17. What a lovely walk… thanks for taking us along (do I get credit for the steps?). I can’t resist most hopscotch squares or swing sets (as long as there isn’t anyone around to see me 🙃). Too bad that the open noodle restaurant and litter added a little darkness to your otherwise brilliant walk. Oh well… people.

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    • Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I have a preference for ‘wilderness’ type trails. The probability of seeing evidence of human stupidity is usually substantially decreased. Generally speaking, people who venture out on wilderness trails have a respect for their environment.

      I guess it’s the child in us who gravitates back to swing sets and hopscotch squares … and slides. I love slides.

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  18. Thank you for taking me on a walk with you, Joanne. It is good to be virtually out (have been home bound for 5 days now) and your walk, so beautifully & wistfully written really took me along.

    It is frustrating to see the recurrence of irresponsibility which has brought our world to its knees. It is difficult not to get angry or despair. But in your writing, I feel hope and I take great strength from it.

    Thank you for starting off my Monday morning with vigour!

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    • Thanks for coming along, Ju Lyn. Company is always welcome 😊

      You would think that I would have resigned myself to the stupidity and carelessness and irresponsibility … and a whole lot of increasingly angry words … of the human species by now.

      Sadly, I’m constantly surprised.

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  19. Thanks for walking responsibly! 🙂 I am having to willfully ignore the people who can’t or won’t understand what we all need to do right now. I saw a great little meme about focusing on we can do versus what other idiots are doing/not doing, and it’s helping my sanity a bit. Stay safe and healthy!

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    • You make a great point. We can rail at the world in anger but in the end it’s our responsibility to lead by example – not what can we get away with.

      Staying safe and healthy is everyone’s goal right now. Nothing else matters.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Fond memories indeed! We always had to draw our own – and never on concrete. Always on dirt.

      Hmmmm – I just realized that a lot of my childhood involved dirt – dirt roads, fields, play areas. Today everything feels so sanitized in comparison.

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  20. Better to leave hopscotch for the kids. We can’t hop around like we used to anymore. From your photos, it looks like it’s starting to green up in Toronto. Finally, spring is here.

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    • We’ve had an unusually mild winter and this month has felt more like April than March. Everything is weird right now – even the weather.

      Hopping, skipping, jumping were all things I took for granted as a child. Now I wouldn’t even dream of jumping a step or two down to the ground!!

      I hope you are feeling better, Tippy. No more trips to the hospital for a long, long time please!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I was heartened to read that our community (been in quarantine for 2 weeks) is starting to see a slow down in new cases. Still some people ignore the rules and litter is just …. grrrr!

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  22. Getting outside for some exercise seems vital for physical and mental health these days. As long as we steer clear of people. I’m so glad that you’re taking advantage of the pretty walks around you, Joanne. Thanks for taking me along. 🙂

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  23. The dog is circling me aching to go for a walk. I’ll send him to you! I’ve been getting out consistently everyday but I balk at the rain. Maybe I need your gear? Keep it up though Joanne so you won’t be culled!

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    • I’m afraid my age alone will put me on the Culled List. Add to that the fact that I’m becoming increasingly vocal with people who are behaving in an irresponsible manner. I’m not normally the type of person to call someone out, but the stakes are too high right now.
      I’m afraid that I’m becoming that grouchy old woman.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I’m becoming that person who calls out the idiots, too. Keep doing it, Joanne.

        As for the culling, I read a most distressing article in the Toronto Star about horrible decisions that will have to be made if/when the hospitals are overfilled with CoVID-19 patients and there aren’t enough respirators to go around.

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  24. You’re a brave soul. I’ve been waiting for the sun to come out which it has now so I need to lace up my shoes and venture outside on my own walk. Enjoyed reading about your route but you could have hurt yourself on the hopscotch squares. Have to admit that I never think of myself as one of those folks in the over 60 category.

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  25. That was fun – but I bet a bit off-putting for a Torontonian to walk without encountering another person. Up here in Cobalt? Even when I was out yesterday we came across two or three people out getting a breath of fresh air.

    Be well, and stay in touch.

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    • I’m just as happy to see no one. Admittedly, it is weird though.

      Sadly that wasn’t the case this morning when I went out for my grocery run. People! Too many people! … and an abundance of stupidity 😡

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Thanks for taking us along. I have had to do a few wet walks with Benny recently but fortunately haven’t been soaked yet. It is fun to pay more attention to the beauty of nature, one of the perks I’ve noticed.

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    • While I absolutely do not agree with people violating rules intended to keep us all safe, I have a problem with my tendency to see things from both sides.

      I understand that most of these small business owners are in a really bad place and facing financial ruin. It’s not just losing a job and income. It’s often losing EVERYTHING because their fixed costs don’t go away, including business loans that are often backed by mortgages on their homes.

      While I can condemn someone for their irresponsible actions – and I do believe this is beyond irresponsible – I have to ask myself … if I was in their position, would it really be so easy for me to comply? We all would like to believe we would, but ….

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Thank you for taking me along on your walk, Joanne. I used to love to play hopscotch too, although the rules and purpose of the game are foggy to me now. I remember drawing out the hopscotch board with chalk on the sidewalk surrounding my childhood home.
    I suppose the noodle place offered takeout, which allows it to remain open…but serving sit down customers is not part of that allowance. Last week I saw a barber shop still open, with a young man getting a trim from the elderly barber, and I wondered at the risks being taken then already.
    What a world we now inhabit.

    Deb

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  28. What a great walk. I, on the other hand, am a wuss when it’s damp and drizzly (like it is here today). But I’ve been walking this week and no one is about except for the occasional dog walker who avoids me like the plague. Ok with me. Nature is healing. Sometimes it’s necessary to cull the herd.

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  29. So lovely to virtually walk with you this morning. It’s hard to resist those hopscotches, isn’t it?

    As for those diners in the noodle place, they need their noodles checked 😡. YOU CAN’T FIX STUPID 🤬!

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    • I think Mother Nature is fed up with us and has weaponized to get rid of us. The dingbats out there who think they are exempt will make it easier for her. Sadly, those who need to be culled, usually aren’t 😡

      Liked by 2 people

  30. Thank you for the walk because I haven’t been out in the rain here today. Culling the herd could be necessary because some of these folks are just too stupid. Parties and coughing on food on purpose – where are their brains. I wonder if it even occurred to them that those of us who have been heeding the warning will now get to remain inside longer because of their stupidity. Applause to you and your fellow Canadians – your numbers are so much lower than the rest of us. Stay safe.

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    • Unfortunately, culling the herd is rather a ‘blind’ process and those who need to be culled are often not. Too many innocent victims 😕 Now, if my opinion was asked, I could provide a list 😉

      I think our PM and all his provincial counterparts have been doing an admirable job of coordinating information, being consistent in their messaging, and taking appropriate actions. This is new territory for everyone and lessons are being learned on the fly. Egos appear to have been (mostly) checked at the door and everyone is cooperating. It’s a remarkable thing.

      I’m sorry you aren’t seeing the same. Sadly, a lot of innocent people will suffer … and die … because of it.

      Liked by 2 people

  31. I’m on board with culling the herd! The emptiness of the streets feels soooo strange -definitly like something out of a sci-fi movie. I’m ready for summer lady! This overcast, snow and rain BS is getting old!

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    • I can’t imagine how much worse it will feel for people to still be in physical isolation in warm weather. All those people stuck in small apartments in high rises – especially with children. The warmer spring weather worries me because many of those who are compliant now may not stay that way. That’s when we may see the dreaded 2nd wave that’s predicted.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Thoroughly enjoyed that walk and I didn’t get wet either! I’ve run out to top up the bird feeders but that’s all this morning. What is the matter with people? Still thinking it’s all about them I guess…when this this all over I’d love to join you for a walk/hike/hopscotch …

    Like

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