Spring has sprung, and with it comes new life. Mother nature is dressing trees with new greens while early season flowers bloom. Birds are returning to their summer habitats, being nominally welcomed by their year-round feathered residents.
Here inside the on-going pandemic lifestyle, there are signs life is also returning after a year-long winter of frozen plans and lives put on hold. The spring weather seems to be building a bridge from the pandemic to post-pandemic life. People are slowly springing back to life.
Winnie has built a garden literally every year since we’ve been together. Here in Northern Virginia she’s faced a challenge different than anything she every dealt with back in China. Our house backs onto a county park and watershed conservation area. Among the wildlife running loose is a large herd of deer. They mostly stay well-behaved and in their park. But, somehow, word got out among the deer community some years ago about the fine dining at Winnie’s garden. For many years now, we’ve fought a running battle with deer over tearing up Winnie’s garden, and most years the deer win.
Due to the way our house is positioned, and surrounding trees, we receive very little sun in our backyard during the summers. So Winnie makes most of her gardens in front of our house. One would think deer would not come all the way to the front of our house for free meals – but they do.
Three years ago things came to a head, with the deer literally destroying everything Winnie planted several times over. We got no fresh veggies that year at all. Something had to be done – Winnie was not happy. So starting the following season, we put up eight-foot fencing all around our backyard. This seemed to help, except our next-door neighbor didn’t have completed fencing we could join to. So deer came through he neighbor’s yard and around to Winnie’s garden. At least, the deer let us have some veggies during that season.
The War On Deer
This year, Winnie has decided to wage all-out war on deer. She found a – free – local source of bamboo and has been busy building fencing and trellises out of it. She’s deer-proofed (we hope) her front garden with a low cage and wire cover.
So I guess we’ll see if this year’s effort is truly deer-proof.
Early Spring Kayaking
Last year during the peak zombie apocalypse I never got out on the water. At all. It was the first year since we’ve lived in Northern Virginia I didn’t get to use my boat (or kayaks) even once. We’ve started to make up for that loss this year. Winnie decided she wanted to learn kayaking so starting already in March we’ve been Kayaking on the Bull Run River, my favorite kayaking spot in Northern Virginia.
We started out slow, using our Sea Eagle 370 tandem kayak Nemo for Winnie to get the feel for paddling. After several tandem trips she felt brave enough to paddle solo. She used our Trophy 126 Arrau, which is a very stable boat, and did quite well on her own. I joined her in our Sea Eagle 330 Lucky . Yesterday we went out for her second solo paddle and ended up doing a 5.5 mile round trip. Winnie really seemed to have fun. She especially enjoys seeing the river turtles sunning themselves.
So here’s to hoping we do a lot more kayaking together this summer.
Meanwhile, Back At The Office
So meanwhile, back at the office, I’m still working full time from home. I did go into my work location several times during, almost as much in one moth as the year prior. There seems to be no rush anywhere that I can see about people going back to a commuting lifestyle.
At least I have an office with option to go back to. As I’ve been venturing out these past few months, I’ve been horrified at the number of local small businesses that are gone. So many former restaurants and shops are now just empty building space with “For Lease” signs on the windows. I can’t see new businesses returning any time soon. Each small business represents someone’s dream, and many other people’s livelihoods. Unemployment is decreasing as jobs reportedly come back, but it’s going to be a long slow climb just to get back to where we once were.
One of my small annoyances over this past year was my 2015 Jeep Cherokee. The Jeep is a software-driven bemouth that under normal circumstances is a real joy to drive. However, I’ve learned that software comes at a price – there’s constant drain on the battery to run the electronics even when parked. This past year has seen my Jeep parked far more than driven – probably the least amount of driving I’ve done since I purchased my 1977 Chevy Luv almost 44 years ago. The downside to reduced mileage is the battery running dry. At first, the battery would be good for two weeks. Then, with repeated draining and recharging, one week. Then, it was two days. Finally, about mid-March the battery simply refused to play along.
I made a quick trip to my friendly neighborhood auto parts store in Winnie’s Nissan (which hasn’t had the same battery issues) and picked up a new battery. This battery replacement symbiotically marks, for me, the beginning of the end of life in a pandemic. Ever since I’ve changed out the battery, I’ve been driving every couple of days. With driving comes new activities engaged outside my front door. With new activities comes a fresh start on life.
It’s as if this past year was a dark night of the soul, finally awakening. Here’s to keeping this post-pandemic life moving.