If it weren’t for Olive, I would likely never leave my home. I have hardly left since all this COVID stuff began in early March. I remember one of my students asking me if I would be conducting my writing class online if the schools closed, and it caught me off guard. I hadn’t even begun to imagine what that might look like, but a week or so later, I was in the thick of making the transition.
I’ve been grading and consoling students whose lives have been turned upside down almost nonstop since I first learned the classes I wasn’t teaching online already were going online. But even the students who were online part of the time were dealing with other courses that had gone from face-to-face to online. I am at the end of the spring semester, and I am finally coming up for air.
It’s Olive that has kept me at least remotely even keeled on this journey. A dog has no idea that the world is being plagued by a pandemic. Her world is me, and the small area around her that she can maybe kind of see. We are not completely sure how much she can see, but it is clear she can’t see much.
Early on in this pandemic, on one of our walks, we were at Railroad Avenue and Third Avenue, by the post office, when a woman stopped at the intersection in her car and mentioned that she also had a black lab to keep her company through all this. Then she said “Bless you,” smiled, and went on her way.
Olive has kept me company. I think I have made an imprint on my couch with all the hours I spend sitting there and working. She has spent a good part of that time right next to me, either curled up with her head on the arm or nestling her head behind my shoulder.
We have continued our walks throughout town, mostly the same path with small variations. We have avoided the crowds at the dog park, although I have let Olive in to run around unencumbered when there has been almost no one there. I am taking her on jogs these days more than walking. She’s a dog who needs a good amount of activity or she redirects her energies toward things we fail to Olive-proof. She has already gnawed my husband Jay’s new glasses. Fortunately, we had insured them, but the COVID-19 shutdown meant he waited a good couple of months for replacements.
Olive and I don’t run fast, so we still have time to take in the surroundings. Olive is insistent enough to make me pause here and there so she can linger on a scent, and I don’t mind the breaks. The walks or jogs are less about putting in the miles and more about getting us out and getting some fresh air. Fortunately, it’s easy here, and when I’m up on a trail overlooking town, I can breathe a little and set the COVID stuff aside for a minute. Sometimes, a minute is all I need to get through the day.
Now, we are moving into a new phase. I still won’t go far from home for a while. My face-to-face classes that I was looking forward to teaching this summer have been canceled, so everything is online for now. But the sun and the fresh air are still here, and Olive will still need to run–and she still won’t know anything is different.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this Opinion Column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any staff member, contribution writer or the Lyons Recorder.