How quickly things change. Two weeks ago, the thought of remotely publishing the Herald Democrat was a distant hypothetical. Remote publication, we believe, is now a necessity.
Today’s newspaper is the first Herald Democrat to be published remotely in the Herald’s 140 year history. Remotely “put together,” I should say, as the newspaper was still printed by the people and presses of Arkansas Valley Publishing Company’s Salida print shop. We are so grateful for their expertise.
Today’s newspaper is also the result of hundreds, yes hundreds, of phone calls, emails and texts troubleshooting file sharing methods, compatibility issues and more. Brain-frying work at its best.
But more importantly, today’s newspaper is a tangible representation of the Herald’s stance on the importance of social distancing. We knew, with some extra work, we could stay home this week. And so we did.
Following are ways the Herald’s staff has found joy in social distancing over the last two weeks. When we haven’t been working, that is.
When I was in college, I purchased a baritone ukulele. I got it out this past weekend to see what I remembered. Should anyone get too close to me in these days of social distancing, my playing the ukulele and singing will surely cause them to retreat more than six feet!
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Since I can’t see my friends, I decided to just plant some new ones; the bok choy is proving to be the best listener so far. I spent hours outside with my dogs, let the sun shine on my face, and gave thanks for my family and all the blessings we have. I organized my home and work space to create good flow and balance. I also dedicated some time to simply being still.
We got a head start practicing social distancing when my dad joined us in 2016 (he’s now 98). Our big event was breakfast out 3-4 times a week. Obviously that’s stopped. Now we take rides on the back roads.
Dad is convinced the whole thing is a hoax (and he’s a Democrat). He rolls his eyes when we mention the toilet-paper shortage. His grandson, who works for a waste management company, happily points out that a lot of people are full of crap.
So far, I’ve used my recently acquired free time to relax. I’ve taken advantage of the good weather to walk my dogs. I’ve also spent a couple of evenings over the last weekend watching a couple of my dad’s favorite John Wayne movies with him and connecting with my sister over the phone.
In between volunteering, looking for supplemental income, chores, and caring for yourself and your children, you may find some free time that you’re unsure how to fill in these strange circumstances.
I’ve been revisiting favorite books (the Mars trilogy, anyone?), re-discovering my affinities for sewing and wild plant identification, listening to hours of new music, and calling friends. In the last handful of days, I’ve discovered more new albums than I have since working at a community radio station.
Put on a new album, sit down with some tea, and consider learning a new craft or remembering a forgotten one.
I spend far too much time in front of a computer screen. Especially, recently. So, when a lunch break or work-free weekend presents itself, I head outside.
Snowy lunch runs down the Boulevard and weekend splitboarding expeditions in the Sawatch, that’s about all I need to stay grounded in a rapidly changing world. Such outings challenge my body and mind in ways that allow me to forget about my to-do list and just be.
The quiet of the backcountry, the sun-wrapped snow, the sway of aspens in the afternoon wind. There’s nothing better.
The Herald Democrat Staff