Dear Crozet, The Covid pandemic appears to finally be ending in our community. Vaccination rates are up, and new and serious cases are way down. This is the moment we have all been waiting for! And so, I am here to ask a favor: Can you all please go back to languishing indoors like you were before the pandemic?
I can remember the spring of 2019 like it was just two years ago. I remember I could go running or biking at Mint Springs park on a Saturday morning and still not see anyone there. Spring 2021? Have you seen how full the parking lot is? Everyone and their mother goes there now – hiking, picnicking, biking. I was so used to having that whole place to myself and now it seems that I can’t be there without running into people who are doing the same thing as me—enjoying the outdoors. Please return to your languishing!
Also in 2019, if you wanted to purchase a new bike, you could just head into the Crozet Bicycle Shop and Cor would have a great selection for you. Now? Nothing! There is a national bike shortage because, you guessed it, everyone and their mother is now spending all this time biking! What gives?! The pandemic is over folks, time to let the original exercisers get their shot at some new wheels.
Or how about going camping in 2019? I could make a reservation up in Shenandoah National Park with just a few weeks’ notice, or find a sweet Air BnB somewhere the week before. 2021? The summer is booked! Everywhere! Why? Everyone and their mother is out there enjoying time outdoors. For like a whole weekend? Come on! Return to the languishing! Whatever happened to worrying about skin cancer? Don’t you hate bugs? Isn’t sweating the worst? Isn’t wildlife so…wild?
Listen, I get it. 2020 was a stressful year. Remember when the nation really closed down in March last year and we had the most amazing stretch of perfect spring weather here in Virginia? What could you do except go outside? You certainly didn’t want to imagine a few weeks cramped inside with your husband who breathes loudly.
So, you started venturing outdoors. Many of you took up running. All the gyms were closed, so how else were you going to get your cardio? I suppose I can’t blame you for finding out that running can actually be a pretty great way to exercise. And yes, pretty much everywhere in Crozet has amazing mountain views, so what’s not to love? And yes, you found out that the only way you felt you could safely hang out with a friend was to spend some time outdoors, so you and your friend would run or walk together, and naturally, you started to get into a bit of a routine. Well, guess what—Covid is over! How about go back to text messaging with each other. There are so many people out walking and running now that my arm is getting tendinitis from waving. And sidewalks full of people—how…busy! I want that whole Old Trail Drive sidewalk to myself, dangit!
Many of you also took up cycling. Again, the gyms were closed. And I guess I can’t blame you for kind of liking that too. We do live in one of the best areas in the country for cycling, with all the country roads and beautiful farmland and stuff, not to mention Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway. And yes, it’s always much cooler up on those mountain roads than in town, so I guess I can’t blame you for making it a regular thing. Especially if you found that you’re starting to feel in shape and the biking doesn’t bother your wonky knee. But again—Covid is over! Cor needs to restock his shelves! I don’t like having to share the roads with all these new bikers. I have to go like 5 miles per hour slower than I normally drive for like 100 feet of my 17-mile commute to work—do you know how annoying that is? How about you lean that bike up in the garage, cover it with some old hoses and work gloves and return to the languish, mmmkay?
And yes, many of you also are getting out and exploring the beautiful mountains in other ways—camping, renting a cabin, hiking. Again, I can’t blame you. We live right next to a national park. A NATIONAL PARK! In our backyard! I totally understand that the first time you finally took your family on a hike up to Blackrock, you were like “why haven’t we been doing this forever?” And yes, I understand that you have become fascinated with all the different types of ferns in Shenandoah, because I am also fascinated with this. It’s like Jurassic Park up there. And of course, when you finally rented that cabin in West Virginia, your kids have never had so much fun, and there wasn’t even WiFi. But do you think your kids will properly develop without the constant distraction of phones and computers and fast WiFi? Do you hate your kids and want them to fail at life? Return to the languishing, for our future!
Crozet, I hope I am not coming off the wrong way. I just want things to be the way they were before. Where I could be the only one in Mint Springs park. Where I could run in Shenandoah for hours and not see anyone else. Where I could find a cabin somewhere for a little weekend getaway. And these things just aren’t possible with everyone else doing them, too, you know what I mean? Yes, I suppose there is more than enough room for all of us – I mean, it’s Crozet, not northern Virginia (thank God). And yes, I do actually love to see so many of my friends and neighbors outdoors, both in Crozet and in the mountains. And yes, I do love it when kids are playing outdoors in nature and parents are finding some peace there as well.
But it’s just that if more and more people continue to spend more and more time outdoors, getting healthier both physically and mentally, won’t the computers be sad? Won’t the couch seats fluff back up? Won’t the WiFi get tired? Will I ever get a new bike? We can’t let these things happen. It’s up to you, Crozet.
Your friend (even if you continue to exercise and explore the great outdoors), John.