WESLEY, Maine — OK, I’ll admit it. I’m confused as well. We have all been told to stay at home and limit our travel to essential purposes only during the coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic. This really is the single best thing we can do to stop the spread of this thing. With that in mind it’s easy to interpret this mantra as to say we must sit on our couches watching pandemic movies on Hulu all day and eat only weird combinations of what is left in our pantries. (I’ve recently discovered that BBQ sauce is in fact a suitable substitution for spaghetti sauce on your pasta.)
It’s that word, essential, that I think is tripping us up. It is essential that we follow these guidelines. The more we as a group do this, the sooner we can get back to life the way it was. But it is also essential to take care of our mental and physical well-being. Our bodies are designed to move. For that reason, it’s important to do whatever activity it is that makes your mind content and refreshed. It could be baking, sewing, carpentry, or yard work. It can also be things like taking a drive, hunting, fishing, running, or riding a bike.
The important thing here is you must do everything while following the safety guidelines. When you take that drive, glove and mask up when you fill up you gas tank. Stay at least six feet away (or as I’ve read on a recent meme, stay at least a moose length away) from other people. Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has recently put out a press release stating a few tips for enjoying the outdoors. They suggest staying close to home and finding lesser known areas which are apt to be less crowded. They also suggest having a backup destination if the place you were going is already crowded or closed.
I mentioned before I’ve tried to show you places that mean something to me.
This week I drove to Lubec and worked my way back all in a single day. My first stop was unintended, but I couldn’t resist the stop. It was the Whaleback lookout on the Airline. My Dad was a delivery driver out of Bangor. He delivered books and magazines to stores mostly North and East of Bangor. He drove the Airline all the time and talked often of how icy it would get. He even said one time he went down one of the hills completely sideways. Now that he has passed, I find it fun to retrace his footsteps. As I stood at that overlook, I couldn’t help but think how many times he must have stopped there to lunch or take a break.
My next stop was The Airline Rips campsite where the Machias River crosses Rt. 9. Did Dad ever cast a line into these waters? It is a truly peaceful site.
What’s a trip Downeast without a stop at West Quoddy Head Light? My stepson’s family tended this house back in the day. I tried to explore a path less traveled and ventured down to the rocks as it was low tide. It was cool to think that for at least a few minutes I was the easternmost person in the continental United States. My apologies to my boss as my company cell phone linked to a Canadian tower and I may have sent a text. That was probably really expensive.
I made a few more stops but as of the writing of this they haven’t aired yet. I don’t want to tip my hat just yet.
Traveling and exploring this beautiful state makes my mind content, refreshed and is good for my soul. And I get to do it for my job! Gloving up at the gas pumps and on the rare occasion I see a human, staying six feet away is my responsibility. So, the answer to, “Can I outside?” is yes you can and should outside. Just follow the safety guidelines.