Quarantined in the North Georgia Mountains

flyingAfter several weeks of shelter in place in South Florida, my husband and I decided to ride out the coronavirus pandemic at our mountain home in Helen,Georgia, as numbers of confirmed cases grew in Broward County.  The mountains are less crowded, with beautiful spring weather  and opportunities to spend time in nature abound. We loaded up our plane and waited for a good flying day. It turns out our timing was perfect, any other day may have left us stranded due to weather, a situation we needed to avoid.

When we arrived at our home, I immediately felt less anxiety and more relaxed. I felt like myself again as the situation in South Florida worried and stressed me out. I listened to birds sing off our back deck instead of helicopters flying overhead.  Squirrels crunching on decomposing leaves  replaced sirens screaming in the distance.  I breathed fresh oxygen rich air, cool and crisp, rather than the thick humidity of the south.

I wanted to cry.  I had been so emotionally on edge for what seemed like forever.  Instead I said.  “I feel better already.  We are so lucky to have options.”

“Yes we are.”  He agreed.

I found my new normal over the next few weeks.  Running in the morning through our desolate little town center, side roads and nature trails.  Yoga in the afternoon on the back deck, surrounded by nature.  I use my iPhone to guide me through my practice, with videos posted by the studio I attend.  Fighter jets from a nearby military training area even flew overhead one day, adding a bit of excitement to my flow.  I spotted a red fox in the distance while in tree pose.

My husband has home improvement projects to keep him busy.  We just built our house last year, leaving several tasks unfinished.  He cut and fertilized the grass, planted more trees, stained wood, built shelves for his tools and a framed our fireplace.  It’s an ongoing list but  now has the time to complete them.

One day he called me out back.  “Come here.”

A large bird attacked a tree off our deck.  “What is that?  A woodpecker?”

“Yeah.  The largest one I’ve seen.”

I found new recipes and dinners to make.  We went to grocery store to stock up, a first for me in a month.  We both had masks and gloves and followed the arrows of which way to go up and down.  It felt good to pick out food, although I think many items were overpriced, especially the produce. I had a list for most things, then a random note to buy drinks and frozen food.

In the evening my husband noticed something through a side window.  “Bears.”

“They’re so quiet.”  I whispered.

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They looked in the trash can, picked through it. Then checked out our golf cart, sniffed around and left.  Three of them, a momma and two cubs I imagined.  Although they all looked pretty big.  Our dog didn’t even know they were outside, she usually  hears and smells everything, then barks like crazy.helen15

We are fortunate to have access to hiking trails and golf.  We learned that federal trails are closed but state parks open.  I personally think all outdoor activities should be accessible.  It’s a great way to escape and find tranquility and peace in our current world.  Something we all need.  Please find nature, love, compassion, health and hope during this difficult time, and reach out to those that need the same.

 

 

Coronavirus. Remain Calm and Carry On.

coronavirusSo far 2020 has been full of hype and hysteria over the Coronavirus.  First in Asia, then Europe and now the United States. I’m doing my part and I’ve been self quarantined for almost a week now. I am not infected, and I want to keep myself and our elderly population safe.  That being said, let’s look at some facts.

Influenza, the flu, in the U.S. alone, has caused an estimated 34 million illnesses, 350,000 hospitalizations and 20,000 deaths this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC predicts that at least 12,000 Americans will die from the flu in any given year. As many as 61,000 people died in the 2017-2018 flu season, and 45 million were infected.

Cornavirus world count is 216,700 cases with 8,908 deaths.  Not a small number, but not nearly as bad and the flu this year, certainly not as deadly as the 2017-2018 season. I understand the count is still rising, and as a new virus it has many uncertainties.

But still, countries have been brought to their knees.  Airports are ghost towns, schools closed, businesses closed, borders closed,the stock market plummeted and people are scared and uncertain.

We can learn from countries like Taiwan who’s had just one death and 100 cases, they have the lowest incidence rate per capita at about 1 in every 500,000.  They were proactive in testing for the virus and put temperature monitors in public places.  They also increased mask production and banned the export of them.

South Korea implemented drive through testing stations, the first of it’s kind in the world. They also have GPS tracking for those confirmed with COVID-19 and it’s easily available on an app. so people can avoid those areas.

Americans are resilient and creative. Let’s remain calm and demand better from our leaders and the media. Test everyone if able, and protect those at risk.  There has to be a better way to do this, together.