On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
On the Road will continue, but it will be forever Alain’s.
Good morning everyone,
Today we return to a wonderful place and time, the before-time before the New Now. But first, a few important words.
Have a great weekend – look, smile, rejoice, and prepare: the next 8-9 days will really challenge us domestically and the next few weeks will be horrible in many ways.
There are lurking hordes of infected across the country, everywhere. Not literally, but there are many infected all around, and so in a few days, they will beget hordes of infected that will show quite apparently in hospitals everywhere. Health care system stress will begin to overwhelm in many areas within a day or two of the surge beginning.
Stay in if you can and limit you and your family’s exposure to others, especially in groups, for the next 2-6 weeks. No joke. It’s that serious and for that long, at least. Prepare without panicking because that won’t do you any good. But do prepare, that will do you a lot of good.
Stay away from other people – 12 to 15 feet – and ensure you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water multiple times a day, even more so if you encounter lots of other people closely. Wave but do not fist-bump or elbow-bump as those both get you too close. Stay 12 or more feet away from others.
No groups, no teams, no choirs, no reunions, no conferences, no meetings, no outings, no tours, no theater, no movies, no opera, no symphony, no museum, etc.
No cruises, flights, bus trips, train trips. Be careful in taxis, Lyfts, and Ubers. Do not touch surfaces you haven’t cleaned and sanitized.
Avoid any gathering of 100 people or more. Really, avoid any groups if you can – if we all stayed away from each other for 10 days, it would be over, but we’re people and not robots, so do what you can because some jackholes will be irresponsible.
Do not touch any strange or unclean surface and then your face. In fact, do not touch your face at all. This takes practice. Take advantage of the time you have now to retrain yourself, in a couple of weeks it will help you not make the simple mistake that will then infect you. Wearing bulky gloves around the house or office can force you to re-map your hand-to-face interactions.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer of at least 60% alcohol concentration can be used to sanitize hands by rubbing it into the hands until it evaporates or is absorbed, but that is a “until I can get to a sink to use soap and water” stopgap.
Soap and warm-to-hot water for a vigorous, thorough hand-finger-thumb-back-of-the-hand-under-fingernail scrub for at least 20 seconds then rinse is best for cleaning your hands of viruses and bacteria. Soap literally destroys the lipid-based virus cell walls like a drop of Dawn dispels grease in a soaking pan in the sink.
For the next 2-6 weeks, we’ll be living a different reality than we have in memory, so the sooner you embrace that idea, the better it will go for you. More and more things will shut down as the days progress – schools, travel, business, worship,and the like. Large facilities are going to be repurposed into health care and recovery facilities, and lots of folks will be repurposed to health care and support. Dorms may end up being used for housing of patients; this is a National Emergency.
Barriers will slow down store resupply (already we see toilet paper, masks, hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, bleach, paper towels, etc. shortages) so prepare. This is coming, folks. Fast.
Work at home, etc., don’t spread any sickness, wear gloves to touch foreign surfaces or to train you to not touch your face, resolve yourself to not getting around many folks in public for the next 2-6 weeks. Treat this as a contagion because it is – if you make a mistake and are contaminated, stop the spread by sequestering yourself for the 14 days necessary to show non-infection. Even better, be the guardian for those around you and do a good job: one slip-up can infect you and then you can infect others for days before showing any symptoms.
Sanitize surfaces, wash hands like a nutcase-cum-trauma-surgeon, and figure out alternatives to your sports, hobby, academic, fraternal, professional, etc. activities and organizations. This won’t be a couple of weeks, even months. Don’t go nuts, find some new things that you can do at home or online.
We’ve got a new normal and we don’t quite see it yet – it is two weeks from now, not two weeks ago. It will come into clear focus come month’s end.
Our trip to St Augustine and Little St. Simon’s Island ended with the passage of a major cold front that led to high winds and heavy rains all along the east coast of the country. We were on a barrier island a bit away from the action, but the thunder, wind and rain did make for an interesting last night there. No major damage was noticed; barrier islands are well-suited for heavy weather. But it’s likely that some of the regular inhabitants (alligators, armadillos, birds etc.) were hunkered down!
Roseate Spoonbill, flying past Myrtle Pond, just for Betty. A few of these colorful waders spend the winter this far up the coast, but this is the only one we saw. Fortunately it was heading into a strong wind and thus flew slowly past our location.
Sanderling on the beach. These small shorebirds are ubiquitous on both the east and west coasts of North America. They scurry along the wave line, hunting for crabs or fish or detritus that might be nutritious, looking for all the world like little radio-controlled toys.
Royal Tern in flight above the beach. This is the common large tern of the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts, similar to the Elegant Tern that graces the Pacific Coast. Winter plumage means that they have this punk hairstyle; in summer the whole top of the head would be a deep black.
Bonaparte’s Gulls along the water line. This is an uncommon and unexpected bird along the Georgia coast in winter, so I was happy to find them. Small and delicate, their winter plumage has a black dot behind the eye. In summer the entire head would be black. In all plumages they show that white triangle along the outer wing, making them one of the easiest gulls on the planet to identify.
Nine-banded Armadillo rooting for its supper. Not all armadillos are nocturnal; we were told that many of the island’s armadillos appear out of their burrows about 4:15-4:30 every day and start their foraging. This one was oblivious to us, as is the case for most armadillos. This species is a relatively recent migrant to the island, and probably swam across one of the tidal rivers at low tide. They are apparently good swimmers, but have to gulp a lot of air into their intestines beforehand in order to stay afloat.
Norm, the 12-ft American Alligator who lives in Norm’s Pond on the island. We saw lots of gators, but none of them were as impressive as this beast.
Turkey Vulture and American flag.