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COVID crush!

Posted September 11th, 2020 at 11:26 AM by Sylvano the Wasabus

My family has sheltered in place during the COVID lockdown. We only went out for groceries and other essentials... sometimes screws and nails are essentials. I was often the person going out- and Iím a homebody anyway- so I didnít notice the stir crazy building in the rest of my family. I mean Iíve always thought they were a little cuckoo but apparently now part of it was because they wanted desperately to go somewhere other than the backyard and the garage.

My step-daughter was called back to work. She works and lives in a different place, and she just came home when things closed down. So when she started at work again she went back and we decided to go visit her. She lives in a small town and everything is closed there so I found a nearby Conservation Area with a waterfall- waterfalls always cheer everyone up, donít they?

It was only a day trip but we were out of practice going places. We couldnít remember what to bring. Obviously we needed to bring things- sunscreen? Definitely water. Hats? Snacks? Face masks? A map? It felt so strange putting things into a bag and getting in the car to go. It felt like we had never done such a thing before.

We havenít all been in the car together for a very long time. It was raucous- lots of laughing and joking and verbal games and teasing and storytelling. Did I mention that theyíre all a little cuckoo? Our trip was to take us through a lot of rural areas- soybean and corn fields.

Of course there were problems. Travelling anywhere takes a certain amount of mind-body cooperation which we not longer seemed to have- specifically everyone had to go to the bathroom almost right after we left. No problem, we thought. It was actually a problem. There are highway rest stops and we pulled into one forgetting all about COVID restrictions because we hadnít been out. We jumped out of the van and ran for the washroom.... and ran back to get our masks and then walked over to stand in line. Only a few people were being allowed in at a time. Thereís a restaurant in there too, so some of the people who went in were getting food leaving those of us who just had to pee dancing.

Next we got lost in the soybean fields and it was all my fault. Iíd done some work in the area years before and had always been amazed by the giant demonic ploughman. Yes, you read that correctly- the giant demonic ploughman.

Itís a metal sculpture- about thirty feet tall and scary especially at night. No one believed me that it existed so we drove all over the place looking for it before we found it. When you havenít been out of the house in five months odd little things can be exciting.

So we finally make it to Fungus Rock Conservation Area. Yea, I may have changed the name. I didnít know what to expect- besides a waterfall. Conservation Areas are usually an empty parking lot, a few paths and some half rotten picnic tables. But that was not the case this time. Guess who was at Fungus Rock?


There were about two thousand people crowded into the conservation area. There was no parking. We had to leave the van on the grass by a picnic shelter. I canít remember seeing so many people outside. There were families having picnics, girls in bathing suits, old people walking slowing, children howling and biting each other- all of the normal things that have somehow become not normal right now. No one was wearing masks. Not one. But we were outside, right? You donít need masks outside.

I gathered our little troop and we marched over to the main attraction- the waterfall. However, I was about to be disappointed. This was an interactive waterfall- meaning you could get in it. And people had. About two hundred people. On the waterfall scale it was very small. A little water splashing down some rocks into a sort of pool. Most backyard swimming pools are bigger. The water was brownish. This didnít stop the crowd of people jammed together.

Even if there had been no one there I donít think I would have gotten in the water. Brown water just doesnít work for me. Usually when I see brown water, I flush.

Fungus Rock Conservation Area had other attractions as well, so we hiked off to see them. Thereís a river, with some old ruins and a fossil bed where you can pick through the dirt, sand and stones and find some really nice fossils. Youíre even allowed to take one home.

It was hot. The shade of the big trees was appreciated, even if the bugs were biting in the shade. Not everyone in our adventure party was enjoying the tramp down the trail. We came to a big set of stairs that went down, down, down. We skipped downwards- never thinking about the return trip. Soon we could hear voices- children laughing, water splashing- the river was nearby.

I was excited now. Iíd been disappointed by the small crowded brown waterfall. I was anticipating a quick dip in a sparkling river to cheer myself up.

Iím sure you can guess what the river was like when we found it. It was like a stagnant ditch. Water insects were scooting around on the surface. There was yukky foam on the surface. Children were wading in the green slime, laughing, perhaps because the slime was poisonous and the fumes had infected their brains. There was no easy access either- no nice sandy wade in spot. Perhaps the children were trapped and had become delirious?

We didnít wade in the river. I pressed on to see the ruins of the old hydro electric plant, from the 1930ís. Sad to say I usually appreciate ruins. These were not appreciate-able. There were some grey rocks. Thatís all. The river smelled awful so I guess I could say there were some smelly grey rocks.

We wandered over to the fossil bed, which ran on both sides of a small stream. It was muddy and mucky and there were mosquitos. I didnít mind any of that- fossils are exciting! We began to look, picking at the stones we could see. My left shoe had grown uncomfortable on the hike and the more I looked for fossils the more my shoe bothered me. My son found an amazing fossil, a really beauty. No one else did. I sat on a rock and decided to investigate my shoe. When I pulled it off I was surprised to see that my sock was all bloody. There was a short screw in the soul of my shoe and with every step it had made a little hole in the bottom of my foot. I didnít notice at first- I do a lot of walking so I have tough feet- but after a while there were hundreds of little holes and they began to penetrate deeper and deeper. Anyway, it was a relief to take the screw out. Itís bizarre to me that I could have walked all day on that screw and never suspected it.

Next was the big surprise- the climb out. How hard could it be? It was just wooden stairs. Weíd come down easily enough.

The stairs were steep and this side of the ravine was much higher than the one weíd descended. Iím not that young any more- strange how that happens- but I thought I was doing okay. I thought I was about half way up but it turned out to be sort of an optical illusion- from where I was at I could then see that I was only about twenty percent of the way. I kept going and then stopped on a platform where a bunch of other middle-aged people had stopped, catching their breath. And this is where the COVID crush happened.

I didnít notice the people coming down. I was too busy looking at the trees and gasping for breath. All of a sudden there were dozens of people on the platform- a huge group of some sort was descending the stairs. The platform began to fill up with people as more and more came down. They were blocked from going further by tired people coming up. Soon we were standing shoulder to shoulder, packed tightly. There were about forty people on the platform and most of them were out of breath. It was ridiculous! Outside in a ravine I was packed tight with heavily breathing people- I could feel their breath on me- it was a COVID trap! I squeezed through to the railing and faced outwards towards the trees, trying not to breath in anybody elseís breath.

The crush lasted for about ten minutes and then it dissipated as people continued down or up. We went back to the van, exhausted. It was really hot, my foot still hurt and weíd been exposed to a lot of peopleís breath.

It was our first exciting trip out in the pandemic! I hope it wonít be our last....
Total Comments 2


TheAverageFan's Avatar
After seeing it occur with friends, family, and countless customers, it has become my belief that COVID must be a side-strain of Ophiocordyceps Unilateralis and possesses a hidden secondary function which infects the minds of extroverts and compels them to go outside in large numbers and stand next to each other without masks, so that it can further multiply.

It's either that or I'm just overly fine with staying stuck at home for months on end. It's better than being stuck anywhere else, if you ask me.

Posted September 11th, 2020 at 04:19 PM by TheAverageFan TheAverageFan is online now
The Grim Reaper's Friend's Avatar
Maybe COVID is just an elaborate scheme to kill off all the extroverts so that introverts like you and I will inherit the earth.

Posted September 16th, 2020 at 01:55 PM by The Grim Reaper's Friend The Grim Reaper's Friend is offline
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