I joined my flatmates for a quick walk in the woods today upon one’s invitation, having sequestered myself in the apartment for days without direct sunlight and only the breeze afforded by my window. I would like to think this situation was only the result of conscious self-quarantining to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, but a part of me knows that I have also adapted, growing comfortable with my life admidst the walls.
I’m grateful that while we live in the city limits and enjoy accessible public transit, there is a decent collection of woods a few minutes away, complete with trails and even a large meadow at its edges. I concede that I have rarely taken advantage of this, but I was excited to go on the walk today. I would probably find nearly anything rejuvenating, however, after spending longer in the apartment than ever before. The brief hike felt particularly rejuvenating, in any case, providing the opportunity to disconnect for a short while in a different environment not continuously peppered with signs of urbanization. Given my recent dependence on fostering connections digitally with those I could no longer see in person, the benefits of time away from this web of connections seemed unclear. The alternative is perhaps a near lack of human connection. Even in this world, however, a short stint away from the Internet felt like it elicited a bit more mindfulness of my immediate surroundings. I was able to return to what I was working on a slightly more enthusiastically, though I don’t know if these effects will be sustained. Regardless, I hope those who have lost the freedom to make this choice for themselves in places with more drastic responses to the crisis can find solace elsewhere.