Saturday, March 14, 2020

Contemplating Social Separation

Owls are lucky!  
Social separation is big part of their daily lives -- people, not so much?!?
Barred Owl in a favorite daytime roosting spot
Here in Ohio, we have just had a whirlwind two days of enforced social separation.  Events all over the state have been cancelled, schools are taking a three week break, institutions like museums and libraries are closing.  It will definitely be a memorable life event for many of us.

I'll be quite content.  I'm a bit of a loner already and there's lots to do right at hand from enjoyable stitching projects to birding my local patches and walking.  I might even do some serious spring house cleaning for a change this year?!? 
 (Yesterday, a friend texted that she was "stress painting a closet" -- LOL.)
On my birding walk this morning, I was thinking about all the parents who unexpectedly have kids at home for a couple weeks without the usual activities available?  Since I was in the woods, I was reminded of taking my own children on walks and how enjoyable that was.

While I don't need research to embrace being outdoors everyday, there is research that encourages it and assures us of the benefits -- click HERE to read for yourself
(Google came up with 266,000,000 information bits about this!)
My personal reasons are that it restores my ability to focus and helps me stay calm!
Winter wild beach walk with my daughters and oldest grandchildren -- seasoned outdoor walkers!!
I realize everyone isn't in the habit of walking outdoors on a daily basis but with all the benefits and given that all of our schedules have been scoured clean, why not use this break from social responsibility to explore those benefits for yourself.  

If you have kids tagging along, here's a idea to use or share for pleasant outdoor walks -- 
make it a scavenger hunt!
Compile a list ahead of time of things to try to find -- then once on the path, just give them a couple items at a time to keep them from running all over shouting so you can enjoy the walk, too.

Watching ahead on the trail can help you decide what you want them to find.
If you see birds up ahead, ask them to find a red bird or a brown bird or a bird on the ground or a bird in a tree -- the idea is to involve them in observing what is happening around them.

Here's a list I thought of as I was walking this morning:
moss on a log, moss on a tree
smooth tree bark, shaggy tree bark, black tree bark
holes in a tree, a dead tree, a tree stump
little trees, big trees
birds by size or color or where they are
prickly shrubs, shrubs with berries, 
different shape leaves, nuts, colored rocks
tracks, nests, holes in the ground.

Spring is a week away here so there isn't much green but once spring starts, there will be flowers and leaves, frogs and tadpoles, fish, lots of insects -- all sorts of things to spot and wonder about.
Green shield lichen and maybe another species?
I use the I-Naturalist app on my phone to help me identify plants and trees but identification isn't necessary to appreciate the variety of nature.  They have another phone app a friend of mine uses called Seek by I-Naturalist that young people will enjoy using.  Just show the phone the plant or mushroom or bug you are trying to identify and it tells you very quickly!  My birding gang sometimes uses it as a little contest judge -- everyone tries to identify the plant and then we let the app confirm it (or not) for us.

So lets make this world wide event memorable for good reasons and keep the fearfulness of it in proportion.  Make your own fun and when you are successful, share it with others!
Soon we'll be able to hang out with all our friends as often as we like!!
Turkey vultures just hanging out!
There's the oven timer!!  Time to cook the English muffins!



  1. This is good info, Mary. If I have to quarantine, I have plenty of sewing to do, so no problem there. But walks will help people de-stress. It works for me. Blessings,

  2. I don't know if the time spent with our 7 year old grandson will be so educational but I am going to have him sew a pillowcase for himself. There will also be time spent together outside picking up the sticks that have blown off the trees over winter. Of course I have many quilts to be completed too.

    1. He's the perfect age to learn awareness in the outdoors so just teaching him to observe is important -- as he gets older, if he's interested, he'll find the "answers"!

  3. En Belgique, depuis vendredi tout est fermé (écoles, restaurants, bars, salles de spectacles, musées) et toutes les manifestations sportives, culturelles et autres sont annulées jusqu'au 3 avril pour certains et jusqu'après les vacances de Pâques (22 avril).
    Personnellement, à part le virus qui ne fait qu'avancer, je ne suis pas inquiète car je sais m'occuper : jardinage, broderie, patchwork, lecture... sans oublier les balades dans mon environnement qui est magnifique. Il ne faut pas toujours aller chercher bien loin un moment de bonheur.
    J'espère de tout cœur que les mauvais moments que nous passons seront rapidement de mauvais souvenirs.