Friday 10 July 2020

On finding new paths

I am a creature of habit. Which is a little funny when you consider how much I (normally) travel and am out of environments which can sustain my little habits. I have the same smoothie every morning for breakfast. I like to sit on my balcony and read. And, for my first six and three-quarter years of living here, I had a favourite walk in my town.

I'd walk down to the river, and then through the park that runs alongside the river until I got to the "pink bridge". At that point I'd cross over the river, and turn right to walk a loop through the woods on the Polish side of the river.

That route is my favourite. I can't even tell you how many times I've walked it or ran it. I love the peace of finding a little bit of countryside in the middle of my town. 

And then lockdown happened and my favourite route became off-limits. Because maybe you noticed above, or you already knew, but my favourite route includes crossing an international border. This wonderful little town I call home straddles the border, with the river being the border. 

So, while many people didn't notice the international borders closing much in their daily life, I had some pretty big reminders. Normally the only way to know if you've crossed the border is to pay attention - there's never any border guards or barrier of any kind. And yet overnight this was the scene:

Medical tents on the Polish side.

My beloved "pink bridge", totally cordoned and fenced off, with "no entry" tape.

The Czech police guarding the border.

More tents and structures, as we settled in for the long haul.

And, I'm not going to lie, in those early days of lockdown I was a little cranky at the loss of my favourite walking path. Especially as I needed the space and fresh air to process and decompress even more.

So I went on a hunt and explored some other options and I found a new route. It's a little longer but I head in the opposite direction now, pass my church, and walk along a wooded path by a lake, slowly looping back home. 

It's a beautiful route, and I have loved running along it and walking and praying my way around it these past few months. In the midst of all the crazy and the many losses of this pandemic, it was sweet to find this new path and some other new rhythms and habits that really brought life and joy to this harder season.

Last week the border opened again and so I can go back to my normal route. More and more, life is opening up here and in many countries.

But as we re-enter the world post-lockdown, I am finding it helpful to first reflect on what it is I want to return to, and what new paths and habits I've found during this lockdown have been really fruitful and I want to continue to walk in and practice. 

Have you enjoyed any new paths, activities or routines during this season? 

No comments:

Post a Comment