May 3, 2020, Sitka, Alaska
I would not make a good bank robber. On my walk yesterday almost everyone greeted me by name “Hi Rich” while I was wearing my mask. Only one person, someone I have known for decades, didn’t know me. We were talking for a while until she said “excuse me, but have we been introduced?” I guess my radio voice is muffled by the mask. When I identified myself; “Oh you’ve lost weight.” People are so kind.
It’s been 8 days since the first (and so far, only) COVID-19 has been diagnosed in Sitka. So far in our town of 8,800 we have had 363 tests given, 308 negatives, 54 pending and one positive. Over the last week, even though more businesses are opening up, a LOT more people have started wearing masks in the park. Today only one person who passed me was bare faced. Folks are stepping further out of the way when someone passes. One pair of girls, I would guess high school sisters, went well off the trail every time they ran into someone. Dogs have no interest in social distancing. A dog who knows me strains on the leash to get close to say hello, not understanding why his mistress is holding him back. Suzi says, at the grocery store, about 80% of the people were masked.
A few people from outside Sitka were surprised when I posted that the park is still open. It’s the trails that are open. I talked with one of the rangers today (at a social distance) who said that the visitors’ center was closed and the staff was mostly working from home, although they walk the trails regularly. They have a schedule, one shows up at the park, walks her rounds and leaves. Later another ranger shows up. No contact, they file their reports from home. Today I was in the park long enough to encounter two different rangers on rounds.
Today started out beautiful but by the time I had finished breakfast it had mostly clouded over, but still the forest floor was damp and the filtered light along with the moist glisten on the leaves made it a good day to shot micro, although I did also get a few long shots.
I’m always struck by how much death fosters life. All along the line of a fallen tree trunk moss and fungi grow and new shoots spring up, some are smaller plants some are new trees. Migrating birds are coming back. The ranger said that only one member of pair of snow geese that usually pass through the park showed up this year. Life and death in this season of renewal.
Thanks to Carol Hughey for the masks Suzi and I are wearing in the cover shot.