While I live in a beautiful spot, I have also rarely left the house and have not seen people outside of my family for 3 months now. Even at my most reclusive, that is hard; not so much not seeing strangers, but not going out into the world. I was and remain more claustrophobic than I have ever been before - even the wild spaces around my home - protected land, I should add - have been invaded daily by humans looking for places to roam. This may sound ridiculous, I feel hemmed in.
I am used to falling asleep to crickets and owls and awakening to birdsong. To relaxing to the tones of nature. Instead, due to my neighbors being home all the time, there is the constant drone of leaf blowers, saws, woodchippers, the bass of music, the rev of engines, etc. People have every right to live their lives, work on their projects, and thrive, don’t get me wrong. But it is just a change from the usual relative quiet I experience here in the weekday working from home. Even more upsetting, the nature surrounding our property that I so cherish has been infiltrated by people using it for what they will, leaving behind rubbish, damaging the fragile ecosystem, having illegal campfires, and more.
A few days ago, I went out for what has only been my third adventure in the outdoors since before the beginning of our “Shelter in Place” order here in California.
I knew my favorite hiking place would be busy, but since it is a county park and they are one of the few open spaces still allowing the public in, it was busier than I have ever seen it. The territorial side of me came out. This place has always been an escape into nature, and now it was filled with humans. Everywhere. Leaving trash. Carving the sandstone. Soiling the natural beauty of the place. I understand that they all just want to get out of the house and hike as I did, but I have little forgiveness for the disrespect. Indeed, I have often wished I were or could invoke a vengeful goddess to drown these defiliers in their own litter. And the selfish, cavewoman side of me hopes they all stay home once the pandemic is over.
I am conflicted by these feelings. I realize these are very much entitled, “first world problems,” but is anyone else having feelings of claustrophobia from the pandemic?
My intention was to spend the day at the park, testing out my new camera and enjoying nature, and despite it being so crowded, I did just that. I greatly enjoyed myself and the mindful, meditative state I entered while filming. It was exactly what I needed.
While the sense of being hemmed in hasn’t completely faded, and while I admit to feeling like a dragon, wanting to hoard all of my financial resources to secure my own vast tract of land one day (for which I’d have to be a billionaire in California), going out did me good and I am very thankful to live where I do!