Furlough 12

Welcome to the dog walker’s apocalypse

I took a day off from my writing today and treated myself to a ten minute walk.

I made sure that no one was sixty feet from me (that’s the number, right? 😛). To ensure this, I walked the alleys of my neighborhood of Andersonville on the north side of Chicago.

Alleys are my scene, I love them. Before the plague, walking them was simply a way to get from point A to point B in a shorter distance and without bumping into as many people as possible. They’re still for this reason. But now, walking them is like traversing through the passageways of an older, more natural environment.

Here there are brick-laid pathways, vine-covered fences, tall evergreen trees stretching to the pale white sky, and with this, solitude, secrecy, and wonder.

I never realized how strong my connection to nature was until I’ve kept myself from it for so long. I stepped over rain-swollen puddles, listening to the morning birds chirping. When I thought of something anxious or fearful, I noticed it and let it go, returning to my breath and my steps. The air was cool and fresh. I immediately felt at ease (though when I did get to the end of the alley, I had to be careful not to surprise anyone).

I did walk on the sidewalks for another block, but it wasn’t the same and headed back to my secret passageway. Out there in that abandoned terrain, I was much more anxious to bump into a walker (of the dog variety).

I’m glad I did this. We can lose so much of our humanity when all we do is surrender it to glowing screens. If I can’t always go outside, at least I can open a window and observe it. And if I can steal ten minutes, it’ll be down alleys—the bridges to creativity and nature.

What are YOU doing to stay sane? Let me know in the comments.

And be sure to follow me and say hi on Instagram @d.m.barnish

Be well and be safe!

Create and Complete!

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