A Drive to Chelan

After my classes last Friday, I left my house for one of the first times in over a month. My mom and I got in the car and drove three hours to Chelan, Washington. It felt bizarre to put on shoes, a jacket, and sunglasses since such outerwear is nonessential when you spend most of your time indoors. As I stepped outside and into my mom’s car, I could immediately feel the warmth of the sun on my skin and a breeze that I had grown unfamiliar with. Washington in the springtime is a treat that us Washingtonians are spoiled with after months of overcast and rain. As we turned out of our neighborhood, and onto the freeway, I was surprised to see as many cars as I did bustle along. I could not help but wonder who they were and where they were going. Health care workers, grocery store employees, or people like my mom and I eager to escape the confines of our home to go for a drive.

The views were absolutely breathtaking and likely seemed even more beautiful after weeks of staring at my bedroom walls. We passed blue skies, fields of wheat, and trees of every variation of green. There were cliffsides painted gray and deep red and snowcapped hillsides as we passed Blewett Pass. There were cows and horses munching away at grass peacefully. It’s often hard to remember that such natural beauty is only hours away when you live in a cramped city or monotonous suburb.

As we approached Chelan, the city itself seemed as uninhabited as the nature we had passed on the drive. Shops were closed and nearly every parking spot was open, as my mom and I had expected. But as we drove further away from the city’s main street, we saw skateboarders flying across the pavement, families kayaking, and people picking up food from masked restaurant employees at drive-thrus. Since there are far fewer COVID cases in this less populated part of the state, there seemed to be an air of ease and contentment. Even though the town wasn’t as active as it would be on a typical spring day prior to the pandemic, there was something about the scene that appeared almost normal to me. For a second, I was able to forget about the quasi-dystopian world we’re temporarily living in.

I am fortunate to be able to have a change of scenery to put things into perspective for myself. As I return home, I am left with a small glimpse into what the world will hopefully transition back into soon. Even though our social distancing efforts are far from over, it’s encouraging to see what those efforts are working towards.