On the Bright Side of Isolation

By Amelia Redl

I just returned from a much needed walk through the forest. I started at a quick pace as I desperately needed to move. Then, surrounded by trees, I slowed down a little; I stopped to have a staring contest with a brown squirrel perched on a branch leaning over the trail, then I paused and listened to the bubbling of a small stream tumbling over rocks under a layer of ice. This solitary hike was a perfect occasion to sort through the thoughts rambling about my mind. I do seem to have a whole lot of time to think right now, due to the virus that has put our lives on hold. However, thinking is most organized and productive when done with trees for company.

An important idea that has been on my mind recently is how connected we all are. With the necessity for self-isolation, we are not currently allowed to enjoy the company of the wonderful people we used to see on a regular basis. I am not here to whine about that: I am here to acknowledge how all the socializing that normally fits into one day is something I took for granted and that I now realize is infinitely valuable. The long conversations and laughs with friends, learning from my teachers who all want the best for every student, chatting with neighbours; the list of valuable moments goes on and on. In one day, we cross paths with hundreds of individuals. Everybody has something to say.

I’m really looking forward to a carefree walk through the village when this virus is fully calmed. I cannot wait to walk through the village with my boyfriend and say hello to everyone we see. We will stand within 2 meters of people: it will be amazing! Wakefield is normally so full of life. Whether you are going for a swim in our beautiful river, popping into the General store or a bakery, enjoying a meal on a restaurant’s patio, or attending an event at the community centre: there are always people who want to chat. We are a smiling village. Most importantly, we are connected: Wakefield is full of familiar faces and people who jump at opportunities to help others. All of this will be there for us when life becomes a little more normal. For now, let’s make the best of this time at home.

I am stuck at home with my parents and my younger brother and we might as well enjoy this time together. Recently, a particularly successful moment enjoying each other’s company was centered around boiling sap over a fire. We have set up a tripod over our fire pit to hang a pot full of sap from. This is a pretty good set up that comes with the advantage that it is hard to burn sap over a camp fire as the fire will just go out, unlike when we forget the sap on the camp stove. The four of us spent hours and hours sitting around the fire, chatting and refilling the pot of sap. We even ate dinner by the fire, passing around a big bowl of salad and some leftovers we had reheated. By the time the evening cold scared us inside, we had all enjoyed a relaxing day together and we all smelled like fire; personally I think that’s a good thing as the smell reminds me of camping with friends and family.

Another way we have been hearing we should use our time right now is by tackling projects that we would not otherwise have time for. My brother, Liam, and I convinced our dad to help us do just that. Ever since our old one broke, years ago, we have been wanting to set up a new zip line in our yard. Seeing as this was not a new idea, we already had all the supplies in our garage. The tricky part was finding the ideal spot to install it: somewhere with a long open area between two sturdy trees. We found a great spot: right down our laneway! It is perfect: it is longer than the old one, there are no trees in the way and it is conveniently in front of the house. It will be terribly inconvenient if a tall truck has to drive into our laneway but our parents feel bad for us being cooped up all day, so they let us have our fun. It took what I thought was a surprisingly long time to set up, but I suppose that means we were taking the time to do it safely. Now we can fly down the laneway, sitting on a little red swing and holding onto a bar in front of us. My dad, Liam and I all agree that one run down the zip line is a great way to relieve stress. My mom claims that it creates stress, but she was smiling when we pulled her to the top so she did not need to climb the ladder.

Finally, Liam and I have also been trying to build mountain bike trails in our yard for years. On many occasions, we have worked on trails in our back yard and we have built multiple wooden bridges. However, we have never had the patience to shape smooth trails. Now, not only do we have time, we even have a source of dirt for building banked turns as we are digging up part of our lawn to fill with topsoil and plant vegetables. In the past few days, we have started building a trail in our front yard that runs over the edge of a big rock. Our goal is to build an entire network of trails looping around our house and connecting with each other.