Such a strange and surreal time for everyone right now. It was only 3 weeks ago that we were making our way from Texas to Modoc, SC, at a breakneck pace, as usual, cramming as much in as we could along the way, for our first volunteer position ever with the Corps of Engineers at Lake Thurmond and hitting Mardi Gras celebrations in Galveston and New Orleans. Celebrating in New Orleans with SWA people we knew from Denver. Laissez faire, indeed!
We arrived in Modoc in March 1st and received a warm welcome from Ranger Sue and the rest of the wonderful staff and fellow volunteers here at Lake Thurmond’s beautiful Volunteer Village. Our campsite is a paddler’s dream as it sits directly on the lake and has a beautiful view. The Volunteer Village is a full time RV-er’s dream as it has 2 washers and dryers, a full kitchen and a gym. And a REAL address to receive Amazon orders (which will no doubt come in handy in this Brave New World in which we all live now)!
We were working two days a week at the Lake Thurmond Visitor Center in exchange for free FHU (full hook up) camping. Five days off! We were looking forward to exploring Athens, GA, and Jeckyll Island. Maybe even picking up some airline work out of Atlanta. We had it made in the shade!
Wuhan seemed like such a far away place. I, of all people, should know better. My beloved airline industry has made this world a very small place, indeed.
A butterfly’s wings flutter and cause a tsunami on the other side of the world. A sneeze and cough are no different. Apparently, they are small actions with great power to stop daily activity across an ocean for weeks, maybe longer.
Hans and I worked at the Visitor Center yesterday. We had 15 visitors. We played the incredibly informative (and actually interesting) movie about the dam one time. Several people just came in to use the bathroom and leave as soon as possible. They seemed like they were already practicing social distancing.
One man wanted his America the Beautiful Lifetime pass for the trip he and his wife are taking this summer to Yellowstone National Park (half price camping over 62 years of age with the ATB pass!).
At the end of the day, Ranger Sue said that the Visitor Center was closing indefinitely and that we were relieved of our duties until further notice. We are allowed to remain at the Volunteer Village until the date we are scheduled to leave which is April 30th. I think that volunteer duties will most likely resume before then if the campgrounds open as planned.
So, here we are, possibly in one of the best places we could be considering this is a disease of connection. Modoc is relatively remote, a good two and a half hour drive from Atlanta and about 40 minutes from Augusta. And the lake is almost deserted this early in the year. The weather is mild and we have a paddle board and a canoe and world class fishing at our disposal. There are amazing birds to be seen. And millions of acres of nature and a really good disc golf course close by. Social distancing should be a breeze!
This feels reminiscent of 9/11 in it’s heaviness and surreality. But I still hear planes in the distance even way out here in the Boondocks of South Cracker Barrel (thank you SNL cold open 2/29 …. )
And jet engine sounds overhead have always been a comforting sound to me. I know this too shall pass and life will resume it’s hectic pace again. And it is nice to have open space and open time and a moment to ground and center in the stillness and to reconnect with ourselves again.