Coronavirus: Reconsidered — Let’s Talk People and Nature

Last week, I wrote an article (“Coronavirus: Reconsidered”) in which I asked you to think deeper regarding your thoughts on COVID-19. Yes, I will not lie, Coronavirus is a beast of its own that has negatively impacted each of our lives in its own way. Let’s face it — this disease is not our fault and is far beyond anything we all could’ve imagined. Unfortunately, many of us had high hopes for 2020, and though a global pandemic was clearly not a part of our sights for this year, it is still important to ask ourselves: is COVID-19 here for a vaster purpose than the rest of us think? 

Now, though I still plan on discussing COVID-19 this week, I want to shift gears in our conversation from a rather dense topic to something that is a little lighter, but still meaningful and question-worthy for sure. Therefore, this week, I am going to talk about my jog in the park a few days ago. 

Yes, I know a jog in the park through a college student’s eyes doesn’t sound too exhilarating, but if you’re willing to, I ask you to hear me out for a second. 

So, a couple days ago, though my route that I ran my jog on was the same as it always is, there was something different about it. It wasn’t a bad “different,” but perhaps a good “different”. The vibe of the park was unlike anything I had felt in such a long time, and shockingly, I had seen more activity within the time period of my jog than I had as a five year old child (and to me, this says a lot). Grant it, I know that very few people probably know where I am going with this, but each time I’ve been to this park (which is quite often), normally I see a limited number of individuals (who are often adults), and perhaps two or three families at tops. However, the other day, I saw countless people respecting the social distance circumstances, and they were from all varying walks of life. 

That said, not only had I seen such a significant portion of people, but there was also an incredible plethora of activities occurring beside the normal walkers, joggers, or runners. There was jump rope, kickball, golf, little games of baseball, and much more. Again, all of these activities were in respect to social distance guidelines, but it was amazing to see something that looked almost like a flashback to the 1970s. Now, because many people were by themselves (and if not, they were well spread out), I do not want to say that I observed a social reconnection, because that wasn’t the case, but I believe I was perhaps exposed to a reconnection of people to nature, and I believe that it is connected to corona. 

Yes, not a social reconnection (though this is something for us to look forward to), but a reconnection between people and nature. It was eye-opening, and I am so glad I went for a jog because that day I originally didn’t think I was going to. 

two women sit on a swing set. they are facing each other. Official | Unsplash Think about it: how long can you sit on your phone? How long can you binge multiple series on Netflix? How long can you watch the news for? Luckily, people are still able to go outside and public parks are still open, so nature is our escape here. Being in the outdoors allows for somewhat of a sense of freedom that many of us feel we do not have right now, and for me personally, I know that I get exhausted from just the media itself, whether it be scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, watching people’s snapchat stories, or listening to the nightly news. Being outside allows an escape for me because there is something else that I can enjoy during this time of quarantine, and frankly, based off of the smiles I saw on people’s faces, I think many people would agree with me. 

So, perhaps it is time for us to reconnect with a friend of ours, who I think (including myself) we all lost touch with upon the release of iPhones: nature. Truthfully, I think that another idea behind the coronavirus is so we can do that. Again, why would all of the industrialized parts of the world shut down, and nature is still open to us all? Disagree with me if you want, but I firmly believe this says something. 

Before advanced technology, people were outside all day, everyday. I remember both of my parents telling me stories from when they were kids and how they were outdoors with their friends from just after breakfast to the sight of the street lights shining. However, now, instead of people being outside all day and feeling free and having fun, they are trapped behind these little screens in front of our eyes. Granted, technology can be incredibly advantageous, but we as humans often use it to a point where we are so engulfed in it that it begins to affect our physical and mental health. However, because we are now in a state of quarantine and cannot use our time away from our phones by going to the mall, restaurant or any other setting, we are beginning to feel the real effects of technology, considering that and nature are all we have to keep us occupied. Personally, I believe that more people are going to reconnect with nature like they had as children, and perhaps one of the purposes behind COVID-19 is to get us to appreciate our Earth and everything we can do in it again. 

I know that this is a lot for a single jog in the park, but still, it forced me to bring up a lot of questions, and I am welcoming each of them. Of course, the weather is getting warmer, but even when I went for jogs last summer, I never saw anything like that. I encourage you to get outside my friends; I am not saying that Corona is trying to bring us all back to the old days of being little kids outside all day long, but I think there is definitely something it is trying to tell us in regards to this. Do not be afraid to shy away from your screen for a little bit each day: what you see may open your eyes in unexpected, yet exciting, ways.