mikaela and pepper explore:NW fall 2020

Physically Distant and Filled with Love | explore:NW

In the last few months, I’ve traveled a lot. Just not in the way I expected.

I’ve gone miles upon miles over dirt paths and gravel roads. With my 26-pound (and growing) 10-month-old, I’ve stomped through mud puddles and creeks. We’ve clamored over fallen trees, spent many an afternoon crawling through the grass, and often enjoyed physically distant visits with the neighbors.

Sure, my love affair with hiking blossomed in years past. But with the ongoing pandemic, our daily adventures have become a lifeline. And I think that’s the case for most of us. The simple things we took for granted ‘before COVID’ are suddenly luxuries.

Neighbors have become friends. Trail shoes have become a wardrobe staple. And a really good at-home treat has become a necessity.

And as times have changed, I can’t help but wonder what kind of stories we’ll tell of COVID years from now. My hope they are filled with love and community. I pray we hold onto the lessons we’ve learned about how heroes can be found in any station and friends at every home.

Like the 6-year-old who lives across the street and keeps donating his old toys to my daughter. Like the family who gave us eggs and helped us eat our abundance of blueberries. And like the couples, young and old, who let us walk their trails.

It’s pretty easy to point at the folks who are mean and the moments filled with hate. It can be overwhelming to be burdened with health issues and financial issues. The political climate. The absolutely horrific acts our citizens have had to endure.

To pretend those don’t weigh heavy would be false. But oh, to let the love of others wash over us. To let ourselves revel in the littlest of moments. Now that’s a beautiful thing indeed.

Does traveling look a little different these days? It sure does. Physically distant — outdoor— activities are ruling the day. Which is why electric bikes and trail running are some of the best ways to explore a destination. 

Whether you’re getting out on the water, like Hugh Harris did during his epic kayak fishing excursion, or you’re cuddling up by the fire, remember to take a moment and enjoy the little things.

Savor your cup of hot chocolate. Celebrate a virtual date with your friend. Lace up your shoes and go for a hike. As hard and crazy as life is — there’s a lot to be thankful for. Not the least of which is you.

Thank you for sharing and celebrating the simple pleasures. If you have a story you’d like to share about a fun outdoor activity, fabulous island bite or local hero, send me an email: mikaela @ makinglanguagecount (dot) com I’m always looking for chances to add more joy to the magazine, and life.