Tiny Coronavirus Stories: ‘Taking the time to let nature heal’

“Any kids or dogs?” the ranger asked.
“No.”
“Playground’s closed. I can’t touch money.”
Driving toward the trailhead: mother, father, son; near a picnic spot, not eating, not playing, just standing bewildered by sun and silence.
The same sun beats brutal on the steep, dry trail. I snap photos of empty ridges, brief green in the wake of rain, soon to be desiccated, dangerous, latent flames.
This desert climb offers poor comfort for a transplanted daughter of streams and trees. But on the path down, grasses aglow with wildflowers, poppies flashing hope, and in the distance, live oaks still stand.
— Virginia Shank (Orange County, California)

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