Nature walk: Stress reliever, stress inducer

I booked today off and went for a walk in the afternoon because it was pleasant out and I like pleasant things.

In The Truth Equation Neil Pasricha suggests doing one of three activities every day, for 20 minutes:

  • write in a journal
  • read fiction
  • walk among trees

Each activity is supposed to put you in a positive frame of mind, with the tree one working apparently because trees secretly spray you with feel-good chemicals or something. You know, like the spores in that episode of the original Star Trek, but les evil.

I ended up doing a full loop of Burnaby Lake and am a little pooped as a result, because I am soft and flabby. But it was nice.

And unnerving.

It was nice because the weather was warm but not hot, the breeze gentle and inviting. I stopped and took pictures (see below). It was everything Pasricha had promised in his book.

But of course, we are in the middle of a pandemic right now, so there are still signs all over asking everyone to stay 2 meters apart, don’t sneeze into each other’s faces and so on.

For stretches, especially the first few km, it was fine. There were few people out–it was a workday and most people, despite all the closures, are still working. But it is also a long weekend and others like me were obviously getting an early start. All good.

So, the walk was relaxing. Except when other people came by, because of the ones who passed me, there was exactly one small group of three that made an actual effort to make as much space as possible between them and me. Everyone else just walked straight by, as if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic.

Realistically, the chances of catching the virus while walking past someone outdoors is exceedingly small. I had no real need to be concerned. But it still created a tension that began to wear on me as I progressed around the lake. I even diverted temporarily onto the Freeway trail at one point just because I knew there would be few if any people walking it (there were a few cyclists, it turned out). But the Freeway trail is not very scenic and, being next to the freeway, is noisy. It’s the kind of trail you walk on if you have to, not because you want to. I returned to the Burnaby Lake loop at the second opportunity to do so and finished my walk.

Overall, it was fine. I get it, people are tired of walking on virtual eggshells, and of being cooped up all the time and being asked to stay home. Parks are one of the few public places that are open and available. But if what I saw today is an indication of how seriously people are treating physical distancing right now–well, let me say that I won’t be surprised if we see an uptick in cases in a few weeks.

On a more pleasant note, photos!

Burnaby Lake from the bridge over Deer Lake Brook
Buttercups and plenty of ’em
Wildflowers along Cariboo Place.
Another shot of the lake, with lily pads starting to cover the surface.

And finally, one last shot of the lake with the Metrotown towers in the distance and some god rays in the top left. At least I didn’t get my thumb in this one (something I’ve done several times recently for reasons unknown).

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