On Sunday afternoon Neill and I went on a walk at Hurd State Park in East Hampton.  We were able to walk the River Trail along the Connecticut River (took the above picture before climbing a terribly steep hill, woe is me!)  As you may or may not know, it’s my goal to visit all 169 towns/cities in Connecticut and so far I’ve visited 68.  Just driving through a place doesn’t count toward my goal (otherwise I would be much further along!)  I have to visit a place of interest in each town/city (often state parks because I love state parks), that’s the rule I set for myself. 

When contemplating any activity these days as our state is opening up a bit more, it’s good to think about the risks.  The reality is that Neill and I saw a few people in the parking lot before taking our walk and then one other couple taking a break with their dogs in a little meadow.  That was it!  Our exposure to other folks was limited and that’s been our experience thus far when getting out and walking in State Parks.  I keep in mind advice from Dr. William Miller, an epidemiologist at The Ohio State University, who said that we can think of transmission risk with a simple phrase: “time, space, people, place.”  What Dr. Miller means is, “The more time you spend and the closer in space you are to any infected people, the higher your risk. Interacting with more people raises your risk, and indoor places are riskier than outdoors.” (as quoted in the NPR article below.)

There’s been some interesting articles making their rounds about quarantine fatigue, harm reduction, and the personal risks we are willing and able to take right now.  Here’s a few if you’d like to read:
“Quarantine Fatigue Is Real” from The Atlantic
“From Camping to Dining Out: Here’s How Experts Rate the Risks of 14 Summer Activities” from NPR

Now I’m a Pastor and not an expert in public health, obviously.  We still don’t know exactly when it will be safe to reopen our church building for worship.  Though I thank our Reopening Team for continuing to do the research and come up with plans for all our sakes (as you may note, attending a religious service indoors falls in the high risk category of transmission.)  But, consider this week’s reflection an invitation to think about what you may need this summer to care for your health.  The personal risks we can take in the first place depends so much on our age, our health, the prevalence of the coronavirus in our area, and the precautions that we are taking day in and day out to stay healthy and stay safe.  My prayer is that we all continue to do our best to care for one another and ourselves, for we are all God’s beloved children.

Love,
Pastor Lauren 

(This Week’s Thoughts 5.28.20)