March 31, 2020
Walking in my neighborhood in the time of coronavirus
It has become a strange do-si-do as we pass each other…
At each corner, each intersection, I look ahead –
If the sidewalk is clear I keep walking.
If someone is coming my way, I cross to the other side of the street.
If we approach each other on the same sidewalk,
one of us will take the time to step aside or
step into the street
to maintain that magical six feet of separation
that is supposed to keep us safe from infecting each other.
This is in my friendly old neighborhood where I have walked for almost thirty years.
Houses of every style, mostly pre1950’s, some homes dating back to the 1800’s.
This is Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby’s neighborhood, for goodness sake!
Usually people are very friendly, walking together, stopping to greet dogs and children.
I notice my favorite landmarks –
the cedar stump carved into an eagle and salmon,
the fairy houses,
my favorite sidewalk patches,
the old curbstones with horse rings,
and this time of year, the tulips and the cherry trees in bloom.
I visit my favorite poetry posts and sometimes take an extra copy.
I scan the Little Free Libraries, and sometimes take or leave a book.
These days I almost hope no one else will be out
so I won’t have to make the awkward do-si-do,
though we usually nod wistfully and
as we pass.