The girl cuts into the path in front of me from the woods to my left, the black hoodie tied around her waist flapping in the stiff breeze. There is something furtive in her movements. I feel a little bad following her, having spent more than my fair share of time coping with SOIS, or Sudden Onset Irrational Shyness, but she is going in the direction I was planning on. Turning around would be weird.
When I get down to the tiny wetland to the side of the Evergreen High School parking lot, I see why she was feeling a little sneaky. A group of kids sits on the curb next to parked cars with the doors open. They aren’t sitting close together, but they aren’t six feet apart, either. It’s clear they aren’t from the same household. I don’t say anything. I take this very seriously, but it isn’t up to me to police anyone else. The birds I was hoping to take pictures of are all sheltering from the wind, so I wind up randomly turning around anyway, and going back in the direction I came from.
Evergreen Senior High has a big parking lot, and generates its own traffic jam on weekday mornings. It’s a little spooky to see it empty but for one forlorn group of teenagers. There is something disconsolate about their defiance. They’re like the ghosts of the usual bustle of busy young lives.
It’s easy to believe in ghosts now.
In the Sragen Regency of Indonesia, a local politician has ruled that people coming home from the big cities who violate their fourteen-day quarantine will be locked in a haunted house for the duration. In Kepuh Village on Java, a local youth group has teamed up with the police to patrol the streets dressed as pocong, all in white wrappings, with powdered faces and charcoal around the eyes, to jump out of hiding and scare the living hell out of anyone who isn’t supposed to be out.
But it isn’t just them. We’re all doing the haunting, now. We haunt our neighborhoods, parks, and trails getting our daily ration of Vitamin D. We haunt the airwaves on our wifi connections. We haunt our Facebook accounts and our Instagram. We haunt our own homes like proper ghosts, tied down in one place until someone releases us to move on.
Signing off. Take Care, and Take Care of one another.