I miss the park

A closed down bench at South Coast Botanic Garden

It looks like we’re coming to the end of this whole debacle.
Maybe. Probably not quite yet.

So what’s going to change after all this? What has changed?
To answer that, if you don’t want to read this, is an OpEd from the UN Environment Chief

Now that we’re all stuck indoors, we’re forced to interact here online.
And I’m here to say: I miss the parks.

They’re closed here.

The Facts

City

South Bay Joint Information Center

Park closure order, RPV (pdf)

State

For a list of the many things done in California: Here

And for the slightly more updated Newsroom

Country

There’s a Coronavirus.GOV now. Oh yes.

For the White House releases related to Healthcare.


The Environment

the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve, all City parks, beaches, community centers, amenities and trails are CLOSED until further noticeAll park buildings, playgrounds, parking lots, restrooms, game courts, and fields are closed... The closures are in accordance with a local emergency proclamation adopted by the City Council on March 17 and come after City Staff and Park Rangers observed a high volume of visitors to City parks and the Palos Verdes Nature Preserve despite the “Safer at Home” Public Health Officer Order calling for social distancing.

RPVCA.GOV

City-run nature is closed, thank you.

First things first, I love plants and plant-related things. Like parks.
Second things second, all the issues caused by taking them away. We’re safer at home, but also more frantic. We need to go outside and experience the outdoors. Right now, with the parks closed, I can look at the trees, I can even touch some of them, but I am distinctly aware (due to the fencing) that nature is being kept on the other side of the fence I’m on.

I currently interact with the sidewalk plants. I miss my old friends.

And, as I’m on the sidewalk walking or interacting, I’m coming across every dog-walker, frisbee-thrower, and traveling dancer that would otherwise be at the park, well away from each other. Now we either brush against each other on the sidewalk, or one of us has to walk into the street to seek safety. We’re saved only by the fact that so many fewer people are driving.

Many state parks and beaches received record visitation over the weekend which made it impossible for the public to implement appropriate social distancing practices. As a result, the department is working closely with local county and public health officials to modify park operations…

Parks.CA.GOV

Now that we’re not allowed to go out and sit in restaurants (and now that so many of the benches have been taken away or marked off limits), we’re trying to head outdoors. Took a few days after the order went into place for us to get bored inside, but it happened fast and in a big way.

My guess? Society will appreciate what the outdoors have to offer in the future. And hopefully they’ll say no to closing the parks next time this happens. That’s not to say we won’t try to keep our distance next time – but we’ll have enough room to actually do that

At this point, I assume we can all assume there will be a next time

NASA Satellite Data Show 30 Percent Drop In Air Pollution Over Northeast U.S… Similar reductions have been observed in other regions of the world. These recent improvements in air quality have come at a high cost, as communities grapple with widespread lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders as a result of the spread of COVID-19.

NASA.GOV

If you love something, you have to let it go. Or at least chill out for a few weeks.

Out where I’m writing, there’s very little nature nearby. Or rather, there are many nature preserves and parks (actually, some incredibly beautiful ones), but nothing wild. Not for at least an hour or more’s drive. And that’s even with the current COVID absence of traffic.

We’re not effecting nature as much, we’re not generating tons of waste in the air (materials, products, byproducts), and we’re letting life heal. We’re giving nature the season off. I think that’s nice, as inconvenient as it is.


So let’s address the more general issues too.

Some of the current behaviors and rules, just responses to the new normal, are likely to become permanent. 

Depending on what it is – hand washing on a regular basis, people trying to not crowd too close together – it may be fine. Others, such as the truncated work hours and lack of in-restaurant dining, are harder to tell and difficult to stomach. 

There’s been an enormous amount of effort thrown at this problem. True, not all of it is perfect, not all of it will work. But we’re trying. Reluctantly, kicking and screaming, parts of us by force, but we’re doing something together. Almost the whole world over, just offset in time a little bit.


When this is all over, I’ll sit on a park bench and really, really appreciate it.

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