May 21st, 2020 | 0 Comments
Yesterday’s walk on one of my favorite beaches was a tricky thing. With only a handful of others sharing the whole place —7 people at most—I still had to manage dance steps and defensive moves to keep the 6-foot isolation zone. One place in particular, what I’ve always referred to as the valley of the shadow, a narrow edgy strip of walkable beach between a huge black rock on the ocean side and a steep cliff on the continent side, narrows and narrows until reasonably only one person should thread it at a time, but suddenly a boy pulled out from standing in the small waves 40 feet away to join his father, who had been studying the huge rock 30 feet away from me so that even though I’d entered the cut alone, now the dad was stepping directly into my path, traveling slowly before me, and the mother who had been shaking out a towel 20 feet away closed in behind me, and some grandmother even popped up from behind a rock just 3 feet away from me to tighten the noose, and since they were all family they had no need of distancing but I was caught in their net of nonexistent boundaries and started to panic. I drew up my thin cloth mask for what it was worth and inched up close to the rock to let them all go by. Instantly, instead of continuing, they stopped where I did, for no discernible reason, dropping their hands and drooping their heads— “and just, now what?” I asked myself. The answer: Now I call my dog, and we race through the eye of the needle, onto the wider stretch of beach with fresh salt air, where we can breathe again.