Words for Wednesday: intentional

We decided it was time to see the light, take a step toward normalcy, and catch an aperture of blue sky pinpointed in the midst of ominous dark storm clouds.

Life proved to be a most daunting and unusual period of time in the last few months. Never before in our lifetimes have we encountered what’s been called a pandemic – covid-19 -and all that has transpired because of that tiny virus.

The social and physical isolation we’ve all endured has taken its toll on us, one way or another, and created an even larger raging storm to brave against for many. For some, there have been job losses, a devastating loss of income, or complete closure of their small businesses. For others, the isolation has affected mental and emotional health that is difficult to overcome.

I’m ever so thankful that Papa and I are weathering the dark clouds hovering over us fairly well. We’ve had a few difficult moments but nothing like so many others have faced. Our faith continues to be our strength and a swift antidote for the fear that has pervaded and seems to be enduring thanks to the media.

And yet, we experienced a feeling of imprisonment stemming from so many months of having to stay home, avoiding public places, sequestering ourselves from other people, even some of our own family.

In yesterday’s post, I wrote about the need to break out of “prison,” what staying at home for so long has felt like.  I shared our trip away from home when our entire family gathered together for the first time in months at our son’s home in another state.

Today I’m inviting you to come along on another one of our road trips when we just had to “get out and get away” from home for a bit.

Papa and I have traveled domestically during our 40+ years of marriage. At last count, I’ve actually visited 40 of our 50 United States of America. Of course, Papa and I hope to add travels to the rest of those sometime in the future.

Not now, naturally, as travel is restricted because of this pandemic. We did manage to travel out west and back home again right as the pandemic panic stormed our country.  And we were relieved to return home unscathed and content to stay there for some time.

But as the months dragged on, we’ve felt the need to escape home from time to time. So we began researching places right in our own back yard, so to speak, that we haven’t been to yet. Places that are within a day’s drive of our country home – alas, we found that we have visited most of them.

But a couple remained unseen, so one fine summer day, we set out for one of those destinations. We intended to visit a well-known state park in a southwestern area of our home state. This particular park is well known for some of the best whitewater rafting in the east.

Now Papa and I aren’t rafters or kayakers; matter of fact, we don’t even own a boat of any kind whether it be a rowboat, canoe, or motorboat.

Regardless, this area also features some waterfalls and one in particular that we wanted to see. We packed a picnic lunch and set out for some sightseeing, but found a detour from our plans necessary.

Once we arrived at the waterfall location, we realized it was inundated with people. I mean scads of people. Since this is normally a busy tourist and camping spot, we expected some folks, but not the crowd we saw during this period of cautious ‘re-opening’.

Throngs of humanity congregated in outdoor seating of area restaurants, parking lots so full of cars we couldn’t locate an empty spot, and hordes of people – all unmasked – walked everywhere not social distancing.

I get it – I really do. After being confined to our homes for so long, we all felt the need to get out and what better place than somewhere in nature? Somewhere that offers camping, hiking, and river recreation?

After circling round and round in search of a parking spot to no avail, Papa and I looked at each other and said, “Do we really want to get out of our vehicle and subject ourselves to this multitude of people?”

We shook our heads no and drove on. Even the hiking trails looked crowded.

Our quiet picnic spot

Fortunately, we located a serene little spot with just two empty park benches overlooking a scenic view. We decided to eat our lunch there in peace and quiet alone…until another vehicle pulled up and four young adults piled out, pulling coolers, etc. out of their trunk.

The sad part of this? We felt like we couldn’t even speak to those other folks let alone engage in conversation with them as we might normally do. Nor did they even look in our direction. Pandemic paranoia? I think so.

Time for us to move on once again. Thankfully, we had devised an additional plan to drive the countryside in search of three different covered bridges.

You can drive through this 1891 bridge

And we were successful in finding all three. At two of the sites just Papa and I were the only humans there and at the third, we encountered a family on bicycles.

Originally erected in 1802, rebuilt in 1906 & again in 2008
Built in 1830, this one is 162 feet long

We made a great choice that day. We intentionally chose to forego the busy foray, which included a large number of people, and make our own way. But I can’t help feeling a little sad that we felt the need to not engage with fellow human beings because honestly, Papa and I are friendly folks.

Just traveling through the scenic countryside, however, was like a balm to our souls and minds and we still got to see people, just not mingle with so many of them.

As an added bonus, I was able to capture some nice photos.

“Intentional living is the art of making our own choices before others’ choices make us.”  ― Richie Norton

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