Sheltering in a Place Apart

Little did we know on March 22 that we would spend the next eight weeks sheltering in place at Hampshire amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Jon began working from home on March 18, and will likely continue doing so until at least June. We’ve limited out outings to shopping for essentials, and then only Cliff goes out. We’re following all the proper procedures and CDC guidelines for our own safety and that of our community.

But Gov. Greg Abbott’s easing of restrictions on May 1 and then again on May 15 got us wondering if we could wander, ever so safely, of course, to a nearby campground for a few days. We found a KOA in Sanger, about an hour’s drive from our storage unit, near Lake Ray Roberts. Although not our typical weekend destination, it was open for business — and sorely in need of it. The newest KOA in Texas, it has concrete streets and 90-foot pull-through lots, a pavilion with an Austin stone fireplace, a pool, and plenty of grassy areas.

Shortly after we arrived on Friday evening, a weather front moved in, bringing with it strong winds and heavy rains that lasted well throughout the night and into the entire next day. So much for getting away! We stayed inside Cloud 9, except for when Jon had to carry the dogs over flooded streets to the nearby pavilion so they could answer the call of nature. To complicate matters, Bella was convalescing after having a growth removed from her paw, so preventing her from compromising her wound required extra diligence.

Friday’s Date Night included watching episodes six and seven of “The Crown” (for some reason we can’t recall, we left off at episode five, even though Netflix made the entire season available last November!).

On Saturday, we enjoyed our typical pursuits: Reading The New York Times and imbibing in morning cocktails, accompanied by sounds of persistent winds and rain. During brunch, we watched episodes eight and nine of “The Crown” and then settled in for a long, luxurious afternoon nap. A proper cocktail hour was followed by dinner and episode 10 of “The Crown,” and, finally, diminishing rain.

Finally, on Sunday, we were able to enjoy a warm, sunny spring day with low humidity and gentle breezes.

We’ve learned a few things about ourselves during our seclusion. First, we haven’t really missed the company of others, because we are our own best company. We share a similar world view, including politics, religion, philosophy, and artistic sensibilities, and we appreciate each other’s sense of humor, so we’re able to engage on many levels that keep conversations interesting and lively. Second, we love sharing home-made meals and spending time watching TV and decompressing from our workday over craft cocktails — all al fresco on our patio. Third, we continue dreaming of a future together, one that involves an unrestricted return to our beloved state and national parks.

Like so many others, we’ve had to cancel some travel plans, reschedule others, and create new ways of satisfying our wanderlust. For the time being, that means camping out at a commercial site that we would otherwise use as only for an overnight accommodation en route to some other destination. After two months of “splendid isolation,” we’re eager to get a million miles away — even if it’s only as far as Sanger.