One of the things that got me through last spring with my sanity more-or-less intact was my bicycle.
By April 2020, you may recall that everything was bad and scary, stores were rationing toilet paper, we didn’t know if we should be wearing masks, but there were no masks to hand anyway, and we were looking up YouTube tutorials on cutting our own hair.
A lot of us were out of work, or working reduced hours, or working from home suddenly.
The one thing that was still safe was going outside, especially on two wheels.
Spring is beautiful from the back of a bike.
The greatest thing about living in Langley is the Agricultural Land Reserve. From my home in the densest part of Willoughby, I can get on two wheels and be out in farm country in five minutes.
Two-wheeled therapy was vital during those months from April, May, and June, when everything was shut down, when the news was mostly bad, when vaccines were still on the far distant horizon.
This time of year, from late March through to early May, is my favourite.
We start with winter still lurking. Temperatures get up to 10, maybe 12 or 13 degrees Celsius. If it’s clear there might still be frost overnight. There are flowers coming up here and there, brave pioneers of the season, but for the most part things are pretty grey-brown, and the tree branches remain bare.
By the time April is wrapping up, everything has changed. Dandelions are bobbing their heads in every field and roadside verge. The trees are casting real shade from their new leaves. And it’s warm!
This April was particularly nice, with that long stretch of warm, sunny weather early in the month. We deserved that. It’s been a long winter. It’s been a long year.
Even once the rains returned, I didn’t mind a bit. It’s still light for hours, it’s still warm enough to go out with a light jacket and an umbrella, and it’s still gloriously green, everywhere.
It’s hard to describe how much the green of new growth is soothing.
We’re in a strange time right now. Things are simultaneously much, much better than they were a year ago – your senior relatives are almost certainly vaccinated, you might be vaccinated, deaths are down, more people are working – and just as bad, with infection rates back up, restrictions tightened, and questions about when this will all end very much up in the air.
My advice is to get outside. Whether it’s on a bike or as a pedestrian, get out there. Langley has multiple local and regional parks – from Williams to Campbell Valley to Derby Reach to the trails through the Walnut Grove ravines, check them out. You don’t need a dog to walk as an excuse to get outdoors every day.
The pandemic, unfortunately, isn’t over, and the fact that we can see the end, but can’t quite get there yet, is intensely frustrating. We keep asking when and all anyone can tell us is “not yet.”
We’re no longer in a panicked sprint, we’re in the last, exhausting last leg of a marathon. Heading outdoors into a beautiful spring is the one way we can all recharge the batteries.
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