If you have followed my blog for very long, you know that I write about the concepts of recreation and leisure and our ultimate pursuit of happiness.
The year 2020 has shown most of us that, like it or not, we are living in a new normal. Oh, how I resisted that notion! After all, isn’t “normal” being able to hike trails without wearing a mask or worrying if we are 6 feet apart from others?
Isn’t “normal” having the ability to travel without fear of taking a flight to visit friends, family or traveling abroad? How about simply being able to use your local gym, campground, swimming pool or neighborhood park without fear of infection or the disappointment of closure?
The fundamental spaces and places we love and visit on a regular basis have been compromised due to the new normal of living within a pandemic.
For me, March 18 was the day California shut down, exactly 7 months ago.
Sacramento County has recently re-opened with some restrictions and I am so happy to be able to get back to my gym! I’ve been a member there since 2008 and have made many friends, and I get great workouts, too. One of my happy places. I will miss this gym once we move.
As motivated as I am for physical activity, our hot smokey summer deterred me from being able to get outside. I tried my share of working out to youtube exercise videos, but I settled for walking the dogs a few days a week.
On my walks around my neighborhood, there is only one street in which I am fond. No, not mine, as you will read shortly, but a street a few short blocks away. This photo shows a morning walk in early Fall.
There is something about this street with its well-kept yards, lack of chain-link fences, and fewer cars parked on the street. Really a gem in an otherwise deteriorating neighborhood. Autumn will show its lovely face on this street in November with elms, birch, and liquid amber trees that will look more like this photo taken two years ago.
As we kinda got used to our own backyards, many of us found them to be our new happy places. We longed for our vacations abroad, road trips in our RVs with abundant campground choices, open restaurants, and the like, but grudgingly stayed home to stay safe.
My backyard has been a happy place for me since June 2019 after my foot surgery, and then more so in late March, 2020. Here I planted sunflowers, plumeria, hydrangea and other garden flowers and enjoyed the hummingbird shows.
Sadly that summer, bound to my backyard by crutches and my knee scooter, I was exposed to one neighbors’ rantings and ravings as she loudly cursed her children and dropped the F-bomb all day. These were new renters behind us that shared our backyard fence, so there was no getting away from her. This behavior led us to begin our search for another place to live and inspired us to move to Washington to be closer to family and enjoy semi-rural living.
You will be happy to know that the renters were evicted after the owner discovered they destroyed the house! The new renters are quiet. The random shouts of happiness from their young children playing in their backyard is music to our ears! Their yard sounds like their happy place.
This Monday, we are on the road north with a moving truck full of boxes and furniture. Hubby is driving the U-Haul while I follow behind in his Ford truck. Our first stop is near Bend, OR, then we are back on the road Tuesday to Spokane. Wednesday we will unload into a storage unit and get that much closer to our new happy place.
We love this walk near where my in-laws live in Spokane Valley.
Even in the smoky air, there is beauty in nearby Washington’s Riverside State Park along the Spokane River. A short 15 minutes from our new home.
We won’t make the final move until mid-December.
Other happy places I’ve visited include Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, the delta and lakes, beaches, and rivers, near and far. But as 2021 approaches I am still open to find more happy places to discover and love!
Forgive me if what you’re reading sounds like my post “Happiest at Home,” published in early June. With our world turning the way it is, I predict we will continue to enjoy our happy places at home or close to it!
I am thrilled to link my happy places with this week’s Lens-Artists Challenge: My Hideaway!
Is your happy place a state of mind or a place you can visit and enjoy? Share your interpretations through images, stories, poetry, and music!
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