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  • Writer's pictureMatttheauthor

Escape from Coronavirus Quarantine: A rock in a river.

Updated: May 21, 2020

If you travel about 20 minutes north of Atlanta, you can find yourself in some beautiful country. Having grown up here in my teenage years, the woods and flowing rivers of the south are old hat to my wandering sensibilities. While the magic of this landscape is undeniable and unique with its own heartbeat, after a while I started longing for something new and different. So at 25 years old and after undoubtedly breaking my girlfriend's heart, I packed a suitcase. With barely the promise of an interview and enough clothes to last me a month, I took one last look around and promptly boarded a plane for Californa. What transpired next was a 14-year journey of self-discovery that I am admittedly still on.

While I'm happy to stay indoors and not risk myself to exposure, or inadvertently spread the Coronavirus to the mass general populace, last weekend I knew I needed some fresh air. So in a calculated and tactical move, I plotted a daring escape. The destination was a sparsely populated area that offered an overabundance of clean air, and the most deadzone coverage I could comfortably live with. Basically, in times like these, you want to be able to make a phone call, but not check your Instagram. By my side as always, was my trusty and still not 100% leash trained companion Ryder (The Bullet) Wonderdog. He has one speed, GO!. While I'm not elderly or in terrible health yet, I'm always happy to have his youth and vitality when it comes to pursuing a trail that needs to be explored.

As the main interstate gave way to local backroads and trail access, the sun came out in full force and knowingly gave us a wink indicating we had chosen wisely today. Even in the midst of a global pandemic, there something about a sunny day that can lift your spirits. So after selecting a decent route that ran along the river edge, hiking we did go. Now for those of you that don't get out much into nature, a river really only has two volumes. Some people say it has many tones and sounds based on the water flow and characteristics of its cut through a particular landscape. But the truth is, it's either loud or quiet. While it's true there are many rivers in the world, in my opinion, the best ones have big rocks in them.

As you can probably tell from this website I am not one to shy away from adventure. I'd even go so far as to say it's probably one of the top 2 factors in determining how I approach major decisions in life. If there's any chance I'm going to be stuck doing something highly monotonous, there are 2 factors that are non-negotiable. #1 it has to be accompanied by a large sum of money, and second, I need to be assured that it will be short-lived. Now while I can't personally speak for Ryder, when I look into his eyes, I feel that we share that spirit.

Now climbing onto a rock in the middle of a river is easy, but only if you've been doing it since you were little. The one thing I can say with certainty about aging is that determining how long you wish to stay on that rock gets much easier. This inevitably brings me to the point of this blog post.

This particular rock I chose today was massive and firmly planted with no signs of wiggle. As we like to say in the south after we've tied something into the back of a pickup truck, "that bad boy ain't going nowhere". So theoretically, as long as I decided not to execute a half nelson cannonball into the rushing rapids around me, neither was I. Ryder doesn't do cannonballs yet, but along with more leash training, that trick is definitely in the books for this summer.

There is always something holding us in place. Whether that's an order not to leave the house because you could end up killing thousands of people, or just your normal job that you've grown accustomed to. Regardless of the situation, there's usually an object you can find to either climb on, cling to, or build something around that seems stable enough for the time being. As I sat there and watched the river go by, I couldn't help but think of those who recently lost their jobs, regular way of life; or globally how this Coronavirus has completely flipped our world upside-down. The economy is in free fall, entire cities and states have been shut down, and airplane travel has pretty much ground to a halt.

If whatever was working for you before the Coronavirus came is still working, then what's happening in the world right now doesn't really matter. But if this outbreak has crippled both your finances and decimated a stable home life; you're either in a Netflix denial binge or are currently asking yourself some pretty tough questions. Life will return to some form of normalcy in the near future. The numbers are going down, people are recovering, and scientists and virologists are hard at work on trying to come up with a vaccine to make sure this never happens again. Unfortunately, we can't say with certainty that it won't though.

As the sun is now setting and Ryder is no doubt getting hungry for his dinner, I'm realizing that we can't stay on this rock much longer. Sooner or later the water will be too cold to wade through, and as much as I trust his sense of adventure; Ryder has 4 legs in the dark, whereas God only blessed me with 2. I don't know what you're rock is, or how stable you feel in these times. For me, I'm closely examining what and where my rocks are.

The further Ryder and I walk away from the river the quieter it gets. This river is not a quiet one though, it just seems that way because of the distance we're able to put between us.

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