Idyllic Beach and the Toxic Vine

private spaces in public places -- 4/4/2020

What an excellent day this has been so far. Firstly, I haven't paid much attention to the news. Secondly, Ritsuko and I didn't really have to go anywhere, and didn't really have to do anything. Yesterday I executed one of my mad masked dashes into the grocery store, so we have enough perishables for the weekend. I usually top off the fuel tank of my car on Saturday, so I drove down to the BP station early this morning before it got busy. For years, I have always paid cash for fuel, but now I am using a credit card so that I do not have to enter the store. Finding a private space in a public place can be difficult, but this morning was perfect. Saving my supply of gloves, I was able to use a paper towel to hold the pump handle, and operate the keypad. No one was using either of the neighboring pumps, so I was able to fill the car and leave without even getting near another human. Tomorrow morning, I will repeat the scenario with Ritsuko's car.

Scott County Park

Scott County Park entrance, rest rooms closed, trails too muddy for horses and bicycles

Speaking of Ritsuko, she prepared the most incredible lunch for us today. It consisted of an absolutely delicious carefully crafted miso soup, made with a special dashi that she purchased last year during our trip to Kagoshima, and a special dish of delicately seasoned sauteed veggies topped with lean ground beef cooked with ginger, miso, and garlic, served with steamed white rice. She has been making this dish for the past 45 years, and each time that she does, it continually gets better.

In mid afternoon, the skies were clear and the temperature had risen to the low 50's. In other words, it was a perfect early spring day, so we decided to drive out to Scott County Park to get some fresh air and go for a walk. The park has been one of my favorite public facilities for many years. It is well maintained and regularly patrolled by park security, and offers a view of many forms of wildlife native to Eastern Iowa. Back in the 80's and early 90's, I used to ride my bicycle from home to the park, ride a few laps on the inner circle road, sometimes stopping at the public pool for a quick dip, and then ride home. That would amount to a nice 30-35 mile ride, depending upon the route. I don't ride anymore, but we still go there occasionally for a walk. On weekday afternoons, it is a great place for an hour or so of hiking the trails or just walking on the roads through the park.

Scott County Park

Playground equipment and picnic shelters are off limits

Scott County Park

Everyone can have their own private space today

A few days ago, the County Park Board closed all of the restrooms and wrapped all playground equipment and picnic shelters with plastic fencing in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. With the restrooms being closed, one definitely has to plan ahead when visiting the park, or at least know some good places to duck into the woods for a moment of privacy if nature calls.

Nature's calls notwithstanding, having a private space in the context of social distancing is usually not a problem when walking in the park. I was a bit concerned that the park might be too crowded today, but we were happy to see that the roads were not crowded at all, so we could comfortably walk in our own space, far away from anyone else. We had many choices today for places to walk. Our own neighborhood would be the most convenient, but we find that social distancing is easier to achieve in locations that afford anonymity. Or we could have used the walking/running trails in town, but those tend to get crowded, especially on weekends. So, we were quite happy that today the county park was a place where we could enjoy a private space in a public place.

--Bob { Next>>> }

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