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Paths Through Nature and Through Lives, Real and Spiritual Footprints, Including the Path of Covid-19

Author:

Ann is interested in nature's interaction with humans, its influence on our thinking and how walking paths can take us to unexpected places.

Whose Footprints can you Feel on this Path?

Follow this path and wonder who has been here before, over a millennia

Follow this path and wonder who has been here before, over a millennia

Types of Path

  • Physical paths: Random or Chosen, Challenging, Intriguing – over fields, in woods, up mountains, within towns, all influencing
  • paths in the mind: connection to the route, feelings as you walk, interaction with place;
  • paths to the future: destination, whether being led or choosing the direction;
  • paths to history: who travelled there before and why, feel of others’ footprints beneath your feet, the land revealing its stories compounded under your soles;
  • paths created by you;
  • other man-made paths.

Consequences of Covid-19

Is Covid-19 a man-made or natural path? Maybe both. Has it

  • changed your perspective on life,
  • changed your view of the physical world,
  • altered the way you behave, or even
  • altered your thought process?

Before I follow this particular path, I want to explain what led me to this discussion. Then I’ll explore answers to those questions in the light of the virus.


The Old Ways - Robert Macfarlane

Paths over Hill and Dale

Paths over Hill and Dale

'Silt' and 'The Old Ways'

I have been reading these two books by Robert Macfarlane, an author who covers varied themes regarding landscape. ‘Silt’ describes a walk offshore along a causeway, ‘The Old Ways’ explores ancient paths and what they mean.

Macfarlane is a travel writer, nature writer, critic and academic. Apart from a gamut of landscapes and nature within his writing, he explains a deep philosophy, a strong connection between nature and mankind, an influence which pulls us into the present, elastic-ties us to the past and beckons with spiritual fingers towards the future. Along the way he illustrates the bond between nature, words and feelings.

It is this philosophy that got me wondering if our experiences along the path of Covid-19 (for it is a path that we have to tread) have changed the very core of us as individuals.

First, let’s see how Macfarlane describes certain paths.


Quotes from 'Silt'

‘Silt’ recounts a walk off the Essex coast onto sands where, only at low tide, a causeway, the Broomway, allows access to the island of Foulness. Macfarlane describes these flats as a ‘mirror world’ where you walk on the sand just below the surface of water. Black mud and sinking sands lurk, markers loom in the mist, the tidal reach is extensive and you have one hour to complete the round trip, as the flowing tide is faster than a man can run.

His 'mirror world' creates:


‘a strong disorder of perception that caused illusions of the spirit as well as of the eye. I recall thought becoming sensational; the substance of landscape so influencing mind that mind’s own substance was altered.’

— Robert Macfarlane

He refers to this walk out to sea as ‘a soft lunacy, a passage beyond this world’, dangerous but compelling.

His name for transitions between land and water is ‘border crossings’ with no tie to national boundaries and ‘no reliable map … of their routes and outlines.’

They can be found ‘when you cross a … watershed, treeline or snowline, or enter rain, storm or mist … In this way, we can visit ‘other countries’ merely by walking down the road or over a field.. to experience new lands, new feelings or new emotions’.

Returning from this walk he says, ‘For days afterwards I felt calm, level, shining, sand flat.’


Above the Coal Mines

Path to the Angel of the North - a tribute to the miners who worked beneath this hill

Path to the Angel of the North - a tribute to the miners who worked beneath this hill

From 'The Old Ways'

In this book, Macfarlane uses ancient pathways as a means of looking back at history, of looking towards the future and of ‘feeling’ the present. He says,


‘’These are the consequences of the old ways with which I feel easiest: walking as enabling sight and thought rather than encouraging retreat and escape; paths as offering not only means of traversing space, but also ways of feeling, being and knowing.’

— Robert Macfarlane

Taking that a step even further, in another exploration on foot entitled ‘The Wild Places’, he says, ‘..a wild place was, for me, to step outside human history.’


Influence of Environment

I understand this interaction. Nature imposes ways of living, a way of synchronising itself with the creatures which live within it, on it, above it and below it, and thereby a way of thinking. Often we have to comply.

But it’s the manipulation of the mind that intrigues me. How does an environment change emotions, perception and perspective, influence mood and even change the way the mind works? Why does it do that? Is it so that we can survive in a previously unknown environment, or so that we can understand the environment itself? Does it require our minds to open to that influence or, a step further, is that acceptance necessary for both nature and human mind to live together, work together, to survive?

Is it the ancestral connection, when each man depended on the land itself for his life, his comfort, his food? Is this synchronisation embedded in our conscience? Like creatures help distribute seeds, like bees transfer pollen, like animals are part of the food chain, do we, as humans, have a fundamental link with nature which we cannot ignore, extending to a spiritual link?

If so, then it makes sense to me that our minds can be attuned, that we can indeed become part of the nature around us, our minds sculptured by it, to reach into a past of reciprocal existence.


Daily Telegraph Crossword

Daily Telegraph Crossword

Adapting the Mind

Do you enjoy crosswords? Faced with an organised mental search along a structured path, you formulate a correct answer. A series of letters and clues are reshuffled until we find the order (the path) that makes sense. You see the information, your mind rearranges it until the answer fits the given spaces.

Your brain can become accustomed to a specific compiler’s work. It selects the right gear to tune in to the workings of another mind, so making it easier to decipher clues, thereby read another’s mind.

If your mind can do all that, then surely it can tune in to different physical, spiritual and behavioural aspects of nature and respond to its changes.

Think about the signs and clues that any path offers you. Are you walking on chalk, rock, soft soil or sand? Is the path in a dip, on a ridge, under trees, open to a mountainside? All these textured elements invite your mind to absorb the possibilities of who might have been there, why they passed that way, what problems they might have encountered. They also make you feel, make you put yourself physically in their footsteps. Do you know the destination or are you exploring like those who came yesterday or those present centuries ago?


How does this relate to Covid?

Our environment has undergone an enormous change in the last few months. The land itself has not changed but a disease has made us react in drastic ways in order to survive. The environment is hostile; not the geology, not animals, not the weather but an invisible enemy infecting the air we breathe. It is a colossal lurch sideways for the mind to wrap itself around, sort out the answers and come to conclusions, for ourselves and for those around us.

Reactions to this virus range from death to no symptoms at all. Nonetheless, there is no one untouched by it. Serious restrictions, grave consequences for ignoring them, and a sense of isolation for many, are but a few of the effects likely to last for months, maybe years. We have had to skew our perspective on daily life due to a killer for which we have no antidote. Our minds have been given an unexpected challenge to maintain survival immediately, tomorrow and for the foreseeable future.


We can't do this!

Mingle in the Market

Mingle in the Market

Forget yesterday!

We can no longer do much of what we took for granted such a short time ago. You know, with varying degrees, what that means from day to day.

Key workers in society have been closest to the dangers. Those in hospitals and care homes have been more susceptible because of difficulties regarding social distancing. Many have given their lives for others.

All these experiences must have an effect on the mind.

I can’t imagine how it feels to have the virus and know I might be dying. What does that do to the mind? Where does it take you?

I can’t imagine how it feels to lose loved ones because of it, not to be able to comfort them, hold their hands, nor attend their funerals.


Personal Experience

I thought that being in self-isolation for 12 weeks would be a peaceful time, missing the children but talking to them via internet, getting food deliveries, enjoying fresh air in the garden and an occasional walk for exercise, just being careful and washing our hands!

To my surprise, my mind sneaked in the occasional disquieting thought. Despite me trying to brush them aside, whispers of worry, factions of fear, pin-pricks of paranoia wheedled into my brain. I knew they were excessive, irrational, but they persisted. If I talked about them, they went away but lingered beneath the surface.

Away from the house, I cast furtive glances around me. Was anyone too near? I shunned others, looking away. I had to make myself smile at them, say hello, like I used to do when life was ‘normal’.

I concentrated on the optimist within, on the advantages – saving money (on petrol, non-essential shopping), the rapid decrease in pollution, more birdsong, plants flourishing and the sun persisting for weeks in manifesting Spring time. Still the negative thoughts returned now and then.


Sea Front Walk

Deserted (almost!) Sea Front at Burnham-on-Sea

Deserted (almost!) Sea Front at Burnham-on-Sea

Re-entering the outside world

Then came my first venture into town, armed with a mask and gloves. I didn’t don the mask to walk along the sea front, as I knew there wouldn’t be a problem. My mind was calm.

I crossed the road to reach the top of the high street. My pulse quickened, my breath contracted. That voice in my head warned me of bad things round the corner. A few people came too close, so I moved accordingly. I relaxed.

I had to collect a prescription. Kind volunteers had delivered but now I was allowed to do it myself. ‘What if there isn’t enough space?’ said that inner voice. ‘What if there’s a long queue?’ I’d watched scenes in the cities, on television, and expected it to manifest before me. My mind had been programmed for danger.

I was reacting to stress, to possible but inflated problems. I was the only customer, was given my tablets and walked out feeling pleased with both myself and with those who had helped me over this first hurdle.

With some confidence I went to see which shops were open. People smiled but kept their distance. I walked back, taking my mask off when I left the high street and headed for the sea front, a familiar, comforting, open vista which wrapped around me, told me I was safe.


Fear and Hostility

Why did I react with such negativity? Many were having a far worse time. I had no right to feel like I did.

Fears have physical manifestations. My feet felt like lead. Apprehension had sent tingles through my arms. My intake of air wasn’t measured. My eyes flickered in all directions, looking for danger that wasn’t there. My mind had decided that it didn’t like the situation I’d dragged it into after 12 weeks of relative safety; survival instincts.

Sheltered at home, I had no idea what life was like in my own town, so my brain had based its appraisal on what I’d taken from the media, creating fear and some hostility. The path I thought I was embarking upon affected my reaction. The environment I expected did not exist. So my mind adjusted, rejecting the imaginary and accepting a better world, just as reaching the sea front had calmed me, revived my spirit, sheltered me.

I have learnt to deal with missing the children, as I know I will see them in due course. It’s the unknown that creates problems. There is nothing concrete in the future. We do not know where this path is going. Uncertainty concocts nightmares.

All we can do is concentrate on the now.


Reactions

It is a tightly constructed environment at the moment. We must let our minds build another way to deal with this new world. We must let our feet find a path through it, a path akin to those trodden in former times of crises, a path to be walked in due course. It will not be the same path.

The path I walk now is an adventure, one which I accept with grace and gratitude and greet with innovation. I can soon spend time with my loved ones, all of whom have survived this, thank God. I am hopeful.


To answer the questions I posed earlier

It has changed my perspective on life, partly because it must, but partly because I choose to retrieve some of the old ways and reject the rest.

Because the skies have been clear of vapour trails and the noise of planes getting ready to land at Bristol, I find that I don’t want people to travel in planes any more. I don’t want that pollution back. It makes me feel indignant that it can return at the click of a finger. That of course is unreasonable but I do hope that flights will be fuelled by some other means in the future.

The physical world has become fresher. I have noticed it, appreciate it even more than before. It now enlivens me, I feel a part of something because it has been threatened and so have I. I therefore understand it, feel empathy with it. I have that deeper interaction with nature.

It has altered the way I behave. Less introverted, I am seeking rather than just watching. I am feeling instead of just listening. I am asking instead of telling. There is a sudden impulse within to make sure my grandchildren understand this interaction with nature, to show them the wonder of daisy chains, dandelion clocks and snapdragons without ignoring the reality of pollution, decay and loss of fertile land.

Has my thought process been affected? It has. I think from a different perspective. I ask myself different questions. The virus has shifted our world to another dimension; we are at one of Macfarlane’s border crossings. The thing is we cannot step back across that line. That country has gone.


'Altering the textures and inclinations of thought'

There is an interaction with this Covid path; a shift of reality, a perception of a beast prowling in broad daylight, a hovering fear which reins us in, chains our freedom.

Yet there exists a simultaneous path of consciousness; a shift of spirit, a feeling of renewal, as nature rears its head in defiance, daring us to return to, cling to, that heady crystal clarity of pure skyline. Birds are yelling at me to live from day to day, keep a keen eye on life, take the spontaneous kindness that others offer. Hold on to that deep ancestral knowledge handed down through the earth, sea and skies, those instinctive feelings of survival with a depth of understanding of all the worlds to which we belong.

We are resilient, we can take the path of most resistance and win, ‘each new walker adding a new note or plot-line to the way’.


I leave you with a quote from Edward Thomas, poet:

‘The eye that sees the things of today, and the ear that hears, the mind that contemplates or dreams, is itself an instrument of antiquity equal to whatever it is called on to apprehend… and perhaps… we are aware of… time in ways too difficult and strange for the explanation of historian and zoologist and philosopher.’

— Edward Thomas

© 2020 Ann Carr

Comments

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on August 09, 2020:

Thank you, Peggy. Yes, I usually turn to nature and fortunately I don't have a lot to worry about, unlike many a lot worse off than I. Mind-bending indeed, which is why we need to distract ourselves with the positives.

Thanks for the visit. Hope you stay well too!

Ann

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 09, 2020:

Less pollution is a definite plus coming out of this pandemic, but as you wrote, it is unlikely to last unless everyone in our world turns to that goal. As to the mind-bending effects of Covid-19, everyone is affected to some extent. Nature can be healing. Thanks for writing this thought-provoking article. Stay well!

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 20, 2020:

Axel: Of course some planes have still been flying but the empty slots at airport terminals were a sign of how many were grounded. As I said, I believe the drop in pollution has many contributory factors. We already have electric cars but we've yet to see a viable way of flying without pollution.

Thank you for your comments.

Ann

Axel P Kulit on July 19, 2020:

"That of course is unreasonable but I do hope that flights will be fuelled by some other means in the future."

Airlines have been operating empty flights during lockdown in order to keep their airport slots.

I think the improvement in pollution is due to the drop in car usage and factory operations.

Apparently the drop in car traffic even affected the earth's crust.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 19, 2020:

Thank you, Denise, for your valuable input. I know exactly what you mean. How can anyone work when they are stressed? But, as you say, if you keep away from the media barrage then it's easier to remain calm and in control. I appreciate your support.

Ann

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on July 19, 2020:

As you were telling of your walk to town my own stomach contracted and I felt the fear well up inside of my gut as well. It took a while for me to calm down because I know exactly what you are saying. Allowing the media to add substance to the unknown is only making things worse for the stress we all feel. Sometimes it is better to distance ourselves from the news just to feel calm for a few days. I find many of my artist friends who thought they would be spending this time creating, are so stressed they can't function and do any art. I am so used to being home and shunning the media and the news that I find it's the only way to get anything done. Otherwise, I would be biting my nails all day long waiting for the next bad report.

Blessings,

Denise

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on July 03, 2020:

Sankhajit Bhattacharjee: Thank you for your visit and for your kind comment.

Ann

Sankhajit Bhattacharjee from MILWAUKEE on July 03, 2020:

a heart touching piece

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 30, 2020:

Thanks for your comments Kyler.

I believe in trying to keep myself and those around me as healthy as possible, always. I also believe in the interaction of nature and mankind and I hope we can keep a positive balance.

I appreciate your visit.

Ann

Kyler J Falk from California on June 30, 2020:

The only perspective SARS-CoV-2 has changed for me is the perspective I held of those around me; at one point I saw strong-willed people who question everything they hear, and those same strong-willed people became boot-lickers the second things got tense. I suppose it has changed my ability to interact with, rather than my perspective of, the physical world. To no detriment of my own, but seemingly everyone's emotional state I'm affiliated with outside of my immediate family, I have continued to peacefully protest the mandatory lockdowns and mask-wearing. As it concerns my thought process, the media not attacking protesters and rioters over the coronavirus but instead praising them in these confusing times, I'm more distrustful of those with the power to reach the masses than I ever have been before.

I'm going to keep riding the bull of life, and every time I fall off I'm going to keep getting back on without fear and hesitation. I've stood against worse than a silly little virus, a virus I haven't contracted despite never adhering to silly guidelines (but then again, my military training makes me an extremely hygienic individual; so perhaps it is just nasty face-touching sloppy civilians getting sick, lol, just kidding).

The strong will always come out on top, so keep striving to be the strong one!

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 27, 2020:

I am noting well.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 27, 2020:

Yes, AlexK2009, we have noticed the difference though it probably isn't as much in the South, as you say.

I thought it was a proven fact that planes contribute the largest amount but I suppose if you put cars, trains and factories together then that amount would be huge too!

We certainly need to rethink our travel or maybe be more content with staying at home.

Thank you for the visit and for your valuable input.

Ann

AlexK2009 from Edinburgh, Scotland on June 27, 2020:

Here in Scotland, where the air is always cleaner than in South Britain we have noticed an improvement in air quality and cleaner waterways.

Personally I believe cars, trains and factories produce much more pollution than planes and much of the criticism of air travel is based on envy.

i think a new way of fuelling planes will be found.

However I would love a good UBI that meant I could afford to travel long distance say in an airship or a train. Most people travel by plane because they do not want to use too much of their annual leave travelling.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 25, 2020:

Sankhajit Bhattacharjee: Thank you very much.

Ann

Sankhajit Bhattacharjee from MILWAUKEE on June 24, 2020:

the types of path...a great piece

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 23, 2020:

Thank you, Miebakagh! I'm glad it gave you something to think about.

I appreciate your visit.

Ann

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 23, 2020:

I though on the same line as Dora. It can be much for the mind.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 23, 2020:

Thank you very much, Dora. I appreciate your kind words. The crossword idea got me going on those lines, as I'd just been doing a few! Because of my reading, the depth of ideas got me going off in all sorts of different directions!

Thanks for your support.

Ann

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 22, 2020:

There are so many layers of deep thought in this engaging article. Your changed perspective introduced new perspectives to your readers. I especially enjoyed the "Adapting the Mind" section. Great article!

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 22, 2020:

Thank you, Shauna. I agree that people probably will fall back on old habits, despite the evidence that a rapid decline in pollution occurred - economics always come first, sadly.

I'm going to try my hardest to live in a much more eco-friendly way. We already do our 'bit' but I want to do more. If everyone did that it would make a little difference, and in time maybe a considerable, accumulative difference.

Thanks for the visit. I always appreciate your valuable contributions.

Ann

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on June 22, 2020:

This is a very deep and contemplative essay, Ann. I was very interested in your perspectives before and after your self-sequester. I have not had to work from home or sequester myself, so life for me has remained pretty much the same. The only difference is masked faces have become the norm. And of course, the social distancing. I must admit I become a tad trepidatious when someone is too close to me when waiting in line to check out at the grocery store.

I, too, notice the birds, clear skies and less noise in the air. However, traffic has resumed since our governor re-opened the state. It's pretty much business as usual except for the fact that COVID-19 is being diagnosed by the thousands daily since the governor implemented phase two in reopening Florida.

I think unless a tremendous chunk of the global population is taken by this virus, the improvements we see in nature at the moment, will be short-lived. Man is selfish and has a selective memory. If and when this pandemic is behind us, I fear people will fall back into their old, destructive habits. I hope I'm wrong.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 22, 2020:

Umesh Chandra Bhatt: Thank you. It is rather longer than usual for me but I needed to explain a lot along the way! It was a journey for my mind to undertake and a complicated one at that.

I appreciate your visit.

Ann

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on June 22, 2020:

Impressive and exhaustive. I have to learn Ann Carr, as how to accommodate so much material in one single article.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 21, 2020:

Yes, I understand that and it's fine. Just got confused with the linking of two hubs!

Ann

manatita44 from london on June 21, 2020:

Ann,

You spoke of the flamboyance in your comment on my latest Hub, which I had just responded to. Now that I have read your response here and also re-read my comment here also, I combined a response relating to two Hubs. I have two responses here and one on my yesterday's Hub. All's good.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 21, 2020:

Yes, Linda, there is a long way to go and it will have an impact on just about everything I think.

Thank you for your kind comment.

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 21, 2020:

Abid saifullah: Thank you for your kind words.

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 21, 2020:

Miebakagh: Thanks for your contributions.

Ann

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 20, 2020:

It may seem so. But what kind of life the virus could not impact?

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on June 20, 2020:

This is an excellent and thought-provoking article, Ann. I think our lives may be different for a long time due to the virus and its effects.

abid saifullah on June 20, 2020:

you make a perfact link covi-19 with nature . excellent article

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 20, 2020:

Ann, this covid-19 has made nonsense of the modern man. Health workers specific doctors seems to be helpless at the beginning. We most all see to it how we can be of helping one another. Thanks.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 20, 2020:

Ann, whatever path we were destiny for at the human level(medicine), or the siritual level(meditation and prayer), we can all copy with that. However, our survival is the ultimate goal in God.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 20, 2020:

Miebakagh: It's certainly given us a huge challenge but many are rising to it and they will find a vaccine at some stage. Already we have found that a cheap medicine can increase the survival rate of those in a ventilator so we are on that road.

Thank you for reading and leaving your thoughtful comment.

Keep safe and well.

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 20, 2020:

Hello Mary! I think it's lovely that you liken this to meditating. I see what you mean about going along the paths and then trying to find a new one. The feeling I have when I experience such a deep connection with nature must be akin to that. I've never meditated as such (well, not deliberately) but I guess that's the same thing. Anyway, I'm glad you could come on this journey with me!

All the conversations here have been so enlightening and also uplifting. I'm so pleased that it's come about because I wrote this. The response encourages me as I can see I have lots of friends on the path with me.

Keep safe and well, Mary!

Ann

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 20, 2020:

Ann, this covid-19 has made nonsense of the modern man. Health workers specific doctors seems to be helpless at the beginning. We most all see to it how we can be of helping one another. Thanks.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on June 20, 2020:

Reading your article is like meditating. It invited me to go deeper and traverse with you the paths you had gone through this crisis. The past is gone and we traverse through this new path and discover more connections to nature and everything around us as well as within us.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 20, 2020:

Is this your reply to my comment on your hub?! I'm confused!

Ann

manatita44 from london on June 20, 2020:

I see why you like my flamboyance. Chuckle. Dare to be different, I say. Guruji showed us that life itself is movement, not fixed but changing all the time. Yet there is order ... haha.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 20, 2020:

JC Scull: Thank you very much! Keep safe and well.

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 20, 2020:

Thanks, manatita! Calligraphy and Chinese art, I like that! Thank you for your kind praise.

Yes, love is the key to everything and runs through time and further than that. It's the idea of human and nature blending that I find so fascinating, the total interaction that is necessary to understand how it all works. It's the all-encompassing spirituality.

Thank you for your visit. Keep safe and well!

Ann

JC Scull from Gainesville, Florida on June 20, 2020:

Well done Ann.

manatita44 from london on June 20, 2020:

You write like an immaculate observer ... a witness. Good way to look at it and to ask those hard questions that you are asking.

Paths are many, yes, but they are all designed by the Master Weaver and do have their purpose.

I suspect our earthly paths do have an origin and an end, but Love Itself is always in motion and of a self-transcending nature. How noble!

I like how you conclude though. Beneath this shift of reality and new perspectives, the Ordainer is ever alive as Consciousness --a slave to order, but yet managing to adjust Its plans as is necessary. .

I like you take on nature; of how we work. Should be in harmony but nature itself, in time, uses the dip of the pendulum to readjust itself. Simply because Love is never and has never been without order.

You have painted the fear and transformation like calligraphy ... like chinese art. Much Love

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 20, 2020:

Thank you Ruby, for your kind words. I know what you mean about 'going home'. I spent all my childhood in the same village and loved it, close to the South Downs of Sussex. Each time I go back to see cousins and friends, my heart skips to see those Downs as I come round a corner in the road. I have a totally different mind set when I'm there. I feel at home. Strangely, I no longer want to live there as the pace of life is fast now and where I am in Somerset it's much more peaceful and leisurely. I do have to go to the Downs for a fix now and then though!

I can also relate to extreme reactions, cleaning and staying at home. It's only natural to want to feel safe. I think we should do as much as we feel comfortable with, whilst staying safe. It's all personal and no one should tell us otherwise. I'm sure you will return to your old self and I hope I do to (to my old self, not yours!!). We certainly are resilient, Ruby.

Keep safe and well.

Ann

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on June 20, 2020:

Ann, I can relate. I live 25 miles from where I grew up, when I drive through that town my thinking completely changes, I want to drive by my old house, I want to go down to the river where I swam as a kid. In other words, my thoughts return to my youth. We have a place here called, Bell Woods. When I go there I feel peace with all the critters roaming around. Since this C virus has hit I've changed drastically. I don't want to go any place. I have an inward fear, and I've become a cleaning engine in my home. I know I'm acting extreme and with this reported spike I'm feeling more so. I do like the way you ended this piece. Hopefully, I will return to my old self. The worst part for me has been not seeing my family who lives in Arkansas. Thank you for the inspiration. We are resilient!

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 20, 2020:

Thank you, Pamela, for such kind words. I'm glad you found this thought provoking. I found the inspiration in the book and the idea of being affected by outside elements just took me along that course of writing.

It must have been hard for you to be in hospital without being able to see your husband, but good that you didn't have Covid-19 of course.

Yes, I'm sure we're going to have lasting changes, maybe some of them for the better.

Keep safe and well, Pamela.

Ann

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on June 20, 2020:

This is such a unique, wonderful article. I understand and relate to what wrote. I don't see how we can live through this time and not be affected. I have spent very little time outside of my home. When I had pneumonia and spent 5 days in the hospital I could not have any visitors, not even my husband. That seemed to strange, yet I was grateful I did not have Covid-19.

I have always loved nature. I have a bird feeder and I love to watch them go about their daily business. I love the flowers, nice grass, the ocean and almost anything to do with nature.

We may be living with some changes even if the virus leaves us forever. I don't see how it could be othrwise. I love this thought provoking article you wrote. It seems like you put much thought into the article and I really appreciate everything you have written.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 20, 2020:

Thank you, bill. It is strange that I'm more wary, because I wasn't to start with. I have gone back to smiling in the last few days! Today, there were a few too many down on the prom so our walk wasn't as long as usual.

Such a privilege to be able to walk The Oregon Trail. I love that so many paths and tracks have been hewn into the very bedrock of places over 100s of years and we can still walk along those exact routes. I firmly believe that places hold their history available for those who want to feel it.

Thank you. I hope your weekend is fun and fruitful!

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 20, 2020:

Thank you, Rosina! What a lovely comment and I'm glad to have answered your question. It takes thought and courage but it will come and we will cope with all of this, little by little.

Keep safe and well.

Ann

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 20, 2020:

There are sections of the original "Oregon Trail" still available to walk on here in the U.S. It's a strange sensation to stand on them and realize that 150 years ago people walked that path in search of a better life.

As for the virus apprehension, that seems to be quite common, you reaction to it. I see an odd mix on my walks of people who are obviously fearful and those who are friendlier than ever before.

The New Reality! I have no doubt you, and I, and many others will adapt and learn to walk this new path.

Blessings to you, my friend. Have a brilliant weekend.

bill

Rosina S Khan on June 20, 2020:

Thank you, Ann, for this wonderful article. Covid-19 has all of us thinking with stress and fear. But yet, yes, we can travel the path of most resistance and win. That is it! I have been thinking all day about today and the tomorrows of the future and your article answered my question!

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 20, 2020:

Yes, Liz, you mirror my concerns. If a shop is well organised and they enforce the social distancing, then we don't have a problem. There seem to be so many people who just don't think (or don't care). I think you're right about the winter coughs and sneezes!

I can't see a link between Pilgrim's Progress and Jane Eyre, but obviously there must be some! Both are paths through life of course but....?

Thanks for your kind comments and input; much appreciated.

Keep safe and well.

Ann

Liz Westwood from UK on June 20, 2020:

Your early references to books put me in mind of 'Pilgrim's Progress'. I remember once hearing a lecture on its links with the plot of Jane Eyre.

In this article you give a fascinating insight and commentary on the effects of COVID-19 on us all. I could relate to a lot of what you said. I remember a first trip to the chemist after the lockdown to collect prescriptions for friends. I was concerned, but then impressed by how well-organised it was. The pharmacy is probably safer now with its 2 in the shop policy than it is during winter with no limits on customers coughing and sneezing over each other. I have been concerned though elsewhere. The post office that doesn't stick to a set number inside or the supermarket when people infringe my 2 metre exclusion zone. Will we forever be avoiding others by crossing the road I wonder sometimes. What will the new normal be like after this?

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 20, 2020:

Thank you for such a powerful input, Flourish. Your description of walking the land on which you live brings to the fore one type of historical path, probably the most spiritual and profound imaginable. You are obviously attuned to that land. As a matter of interest, what is the name of that community?

I think it's better to be safe than sorry. Quite a few of our friends are trying to persuade us to meet up but we're remaining at home except for sorties like I mention here.

I appreciate your support, always.

Keep safe and well, Flourish!

Ann

FlourishAnyway from USA on June 20, 2020:

I can identify with your description here. I have stayed inside and pretty much watched the world from my home, feeding the birds and squirrels and cats. I didn’t venture out any more than I had to and still don’t because I am high risk and am determined not to die from this! I feel like this path has been traveled before given that it was 100 years ago that we had the Spanish flu.

I live on historic land where an old war encampment once was. The name of the community comes from the screams that wounded soldiers let out when they had procedures done without anesthesia (leg amputations, bullet wound removals and repairs). They could be heard throughout the forest. Walking this land makes you respect the sacrifice and shiver with imagined pain.

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 20, 2020:

Thank you, Eric, for such a lovely reaction to this. You've got it in one - all the different paths we lead and follow, in all aspects.

You've detailed some that others will have experienced and I think it's important that the children get their heads around it too.

Keep safe and well!

Ann

Ann Carr (author) from SW England on June 20, 2020:

Thank you so much, Lorna. Your reaction is exactly what I wanted and I wasn't sure if I'd get it! You've made me feel more confident about what I've written. It's a tricky thing to get philosophical!! Glad you got the different levels too.

Keep safe and well!

Ann

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 20, 2020:

A great piece here friend. I was just thinking of the pathway I walked yesterday. Not a loop trail but one out and then back. Same path just a different perspective or perhaps an aviation type attitude. Going to and coming from and the reverse in return.

My physical did not change. But my spouse was now home 24/7. It has been a great new path we are on now. My son home 24/7 was another new path. Delightful as he has had the opportunity to learn a different perspective.

This has also caused me to reflect on other isolations I have been through, foreign lands with language, and self inflicted. Perhaps The finest isolation has been in nature.

Thank you for this fine reflective work.

Lorna Lamon on June 20, 2020:

An excellent article Ann which asks us to question every aspect of our life and perhaps our past lives. I have always felt close to nature and it's many varied landscapes and changing seasons. There is much we can learn from nature and having spent more time indoors it has given me time to reflect on the effects of Covid 19- physically, spiritually and mentally.

As the earth regenerates I feel we as humans are struggling. Being in isolation has allowed our minds to become fearful which creates stress and prevents us moving forward. Like the nature and history your speak of, this period of our lives will become our history. The most important thing I feel we can do is survive. We need to learn from these times, allowing us to prepare ourselves for the future. The reality is that this many happen again and we all must play a part.

An enlightening article Ann which speaks to me on so many levels.