By: Micah Ford
Living in a rural area in western New York reaps many benefits in surviving this historic, global pandemic. Unsurprisingly, Covid-19 has struck its hardest in New York City. Although we live in the same state where the virus is most prevalent, we are much safer and have a substantial amount more space than the citizens of the Big Apple. Because of this, I cannot be more grateful that I live outside the small town of Fremont. My family and I have numerous opportunities to exercise, to remain healthy despite the troubling situations. My day, though it is isolated from school and community, still contains positive reassurances that help me push through and even take advantage of this isolating situation. Exercise has become one of the primary sources of happiness and motivation for me, a form of routine and structure in a world of chaos and uncertainty.
On Tuesday, I woke up at 7:10 am, got dressed, then checked the weather, which was in its low 40s and partly cloudy.
Perfect, I thought as I drank some water and ate a couple of pieces of toast before my morning run.
I slipped on my shoes, put on my sweater, zipped it up, and headed out to run the “Evan’s loop,” a route I named fondly and frequently use for exercise. Using a familiar route always helps define, even if it is as small as this, some comforting routine, especially in a time where all our plans and preparations are thrown out the window. Furthermore, running allows me to control how much I push myself; I can vary my exercise according to each day—an excellent way to care for yourself and your needs. After my productive run, I returned home just in time for breakfast. The flowing scent of German pancakes my mom was cooking made me ravenous. The warming and delicious taste of them fed my craving for food after running, a mouth-watering reward much needed after so much exercise. My mind was refreshed and thankful for the good weather and appetizing breakfast, a good combination for getting in a good day’s worth of work.
I started off working on health, then finishing the assignments due for the week. Somewhat stressed about the still daunting workload that I needed to complete before the end of the week, I tried to keep focused on finishing my workday strong, taking some solace in a productive start to my day, and the mere normalcy of still having homework. I first read “To Build a Fire” by Jack London, an author who is prized and whom I admire. I would then answer comprehension questions on it the next day. To conclude my working day, I watched the college board’s lessons for AP English Language and Composition on the overview of the rhetorical situation and on constructing introductions for a rhetorical analysis, taking notes that would be helpful on test day. Feeling as though I was able to get a decent amount of work done, I was ready for lunch.
When my hunger was satisfied, I gathered five of my siblings outside to have P.E. My mom had appointed me the P.E. teacher while the schools were closed. I had them follow the normal procedures of jogging a little, then stretching. The game I had them play was ultimate ball, similar to frisbee with a smaller-sized ball. At last, the time came when I had to wrap up the game that had become very competitive. Intensity flowed from my siblings as they tried with their team to come out victorious. In these spaces of action and adrenaline, it is much easier to cope with a world currently foreign and full of fear. Any means of distraction can help in the process of learning to take things day by day.
While inside, I practiced my piano scales, and then my piece, ‘Lustig und Traurig’ by Beethoven, which translates to ‘Happy and Sad.’ In this piece, the music starts out in C major and represents the ‘happy’ part of the song. The key then transitions into C minor, representing the ‘sad’ part of the song. Beethoven, however, inserted a D.C. al Fine at the end of the ‘Traurig’ section, prompting the player to repeat the ‘Lustig’ (happy) section and end there. This stuck out to me, that in this time of gloom and sadness caused by COVID-19 we have to find ways to keep ourselves in a positive mood if we want to get through this pandemic without suffering at great lengths. Playing the piano, especially during this time, has helped me both in improving in music and piano, but also in my well-being in the sense that it lifts my spirits and substantially reduces my stress. Another stress-reducer I enjoy doing, especially in this area where nature and animals thrive, is running.
While I run for long periods of time at a steady pace on more uncommon roads, I have been able to hear and see many animals, including different types of birds whose calls are soothing to hear. It helps me take in the beauty of nature and their simple routine, not caring for the lack of normalcy in our world and determined to go about their ordinary lives. As I was running on state route 21, just a few hundred meters from my house, I saw what was probably a blue heron, its wings spread out, soaring above a stream running through a group of trees. Its bright red beak led the majestic animal out of my sight. Witnessing nature on every run has made me feel calm and content.
To wrap up my day, I had dinner, then had family time. During family time, my dad reads to us from a book he chooses and afterwards, we read a chapter from the Bible. My dad read “Cotton Patch Rebel,” a story about Clarence Jordan, a farmer and New Testament scholar who tried to follow the way of Jesus in the deep south and not go along with southern racism and hypocrisy. Soon afterwards, I was getting ready for bed, preparing for another day in quarantine, not with negative and gloomy thoughts, but ones with optimism and determination to do the best I could to help out around the house and doing my schoolwork.
Routine, exercise, and time with family always helps me to shut out the fear and uncertainty of our world, aiding us in coping as we try to make sense of what life looks like in the midst of a global pandemic. We don’t have to entertain negative thoughts during trying times but instead focus on the numerous things we are grateful for and find happiness in.