In this long year of the pandemic, early morning walks are a pleasure that has, for me at least, remain largely unchanged. Outside of the house, it’s one of the rare times I can go maskless.
I have to be grateful that, in this regard, I’m luckier than most. For one thing, I live in a small gated community where the occupancy rate isn’t very high. There aren’t too many people to encounter on the road, and if there are, we can give each other wide berths even while we nod our good mornings.
For another, our village rules are somewhat lax. Because of our size, we’ve managed to operate by some common understanding of the new hygiene. Compare this, say, to my mother-in-law’s subdivision, which is a bit more strict and mandates mask-wearing at all times outside the house.
Coming to a year since virus panic first set in, I think we’ve come to an understanding of how it works and correspondingly how to live with it. It doesn’t carry very far outdoors, so it’s possible to relax a little. Outside our village, though, I would wear a mask even if outdoors, if only as a matter of etiquette and as a precaution against my own absent-mindedness.
We have had two infections in our subdivision that I know of, both over the Christmas season. One was an entire family, and the other was only one out of their household. Unlike the reaction it would have garnered last year, it didn’t result in widespread panic. Some whispered concerns, yes, but we mostly took it in stride.
It helped with my anxiety that I had some backstory on the vector of the virus. The one person probably caught it at a dinner at her boss’s house; the family likely caught it from several get-togethers over the holidays. Indoor mass gatherings, basically. The neighbors have since recovered after some time in a quarantine facility, so that’s another reassurance.
The first batch of vaccines have already arrived in the city, but seeing as how they’re reserved for frontliners — rightly so! — it looks like this is how we’re going to carry on for the foreseeable future. Small precautions, reasonable risks, live without the constant worry, and take what pleasures we can. Like morning walks.