Part 1 of 3
As we slide out of the pandemic into summer, I reflect on the past 18 months and surviving several lockdowns, social distancing, mask wearing and missing family and friends.
So, what do you do when you aren’t supposed to leave your town during a pandemic? You explore where you are. Being stuck in place didn’t mean our bodies and minds needed to be stuck so I decided to investigate where I live.
It started out as a simple neighbourhood weekly walk with a friend but turned into a goal setting marathon of walks. Initially, we walked the immediate area close to home, but then slowly expanded up and down the shoreline and eventually all-around Summerland. Hour-long ambles became consciously selected routes after we’d decided our goal was to walk every street in Summerland.
Never having a time constraint for the length of our walks (where else were we going, nowhere), we would just pick an area to explore and put our walking shoes on. No street or area was off limits, we always started from our houses in Lowertown, and never drove to any location.
The walking routes started out as petals in a flower with the same a start and end, but once we’d decided to walk every street, it was more random, and at the end of every walk we’d mark up the routes and streets on a map of Summerland to help us keep track of where we’d been.
It was the journey not the destination that inspired us, in addition to the satisfaction we got from checking off the areas we’d traversed.
Taking in the changing of the seasons made each walk unique no matter how many times we did the same route, and as they changed, gardens morphed from bare land and trees into spectacular arrangements of blooming flowers, trees and shrubs.
This spring we saw so many different types of magnolia trees in various states of blossom and differing colours.
Seeing the orchards blossom then create their abundance of fruits, we sometimes kept cool by walking through the orchard sprinklers.
We observed deer huddled in the cool shade and once even saw a bear who was off course.
How wonderful to live in such a bountiful part of B.C. and to witness the growth of so much vegetation.
The weather never deterred us even in the cold of winter or the heat of summer, as we seemed to mostly pick days that were amenable to walking. All winter long we’d walk up to town, or down to the lake, discovering the roads less travelled and explored.
This initiated new conversation and an opportunity to solve the worlds problems, well at least the world according to us.
Few people were around in the early days of restrictions, which made social distancing easy, and as it became warmer and restrictions lifted more people ventured out, but it was never crowded in our little piece of paradise.
Diana Smith is a Summerland resident and an avid walker.
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