Strega Nona Entertaining: Conjuring Creative Fun

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Have a Cool Earth Day, No Matter What Your Circumstance

During a stay-at-home order, if it’s not a complete lockdown, reminding yourself there is still an outside beyond your four walls has become imperative. Unfortunately, some areas, including my own in Wisconsin, have had to close our beautiful state parks in order to protect them. They were being flooded with folks desperate for nature and something to do. Although the majority were most likely there with good intentions and to appreciate the parks respectfully, some were definitely not practicing good social distancing guidelines with their fellow park-goers and worse still, were littering and vandalizing. Not cool. This has also been the case with many of our national parks. Sadly, some park workers were starting to test positive for COVID-19. Interestingly, in places now temporarily closed like Yosemite, the animals are having a party. Bears are out and about in high numbers without the usual throng of visitors. At Kruger National Park in South Africa, a whole pride of lions were happily lounging in the sun all along what would normally be frequently traveled road.

I see my friends online, myself and my significant other have become creative as to how, when and where we seek refuge off the beaten path into the woods, prairies, and meadows. The heart of the city can feel not unlike navigating a minefield in pandemic conditions. If you want to go out for a walk on a nice day, a drive to less-populated area is key. Do some research online ahead of time and find out what is and is not available to the public in your area currently. Even if state parks are closed, many smaller county parks remain open. Try to plan to your visit so it wouldn’t be at a peak time that everyone would have the same idea to be there. Wear gloves and masks and maintain the safe six-foot distance on all trails when coming into contact with others. Taking the high road has come to mean, “I will be the one to always veer off the trail if necessary,” to me. You can still be friendly and say, “hi.” Just do it from behind your bandanna, please.

You and your partner can still enjoy a picnic either at an empty bench at your destination, or when you return home. Other options even less populated could be nature preserves and lonely country trails in the middle of nowhere. I happened upon one by accident, when my Plan A fell through. I parked, got out, and enjoyed a good 35 minute hike, pretty much alone. The wind was strong, but the sun was out, and the fresh air felt so good in my lungs. In the past, I would have suggested rounding up a small group, but you can certainly pare that down to immediate members of your household to celebrate.

When at home, open some windows and curtains. Let the sunlight in for a little while each day. We’re probably all getting seriously vitamin D deprived, anyway. If you have the luxury of a back yard and/or porch, use them. I’ve made a point to continue to do these things while I can (Wisconsin still recognizes the need to get outside for exercise during this time), even if the weather isn’t perfect. I’m always glad I did, and it gives my mind a rest from dwelling on the heavier issues 24/7. Keeping hope alive keeps us going. Happy 50th Earth Day. Treat her well and appreciate her today and every day.


Photo by Andrew Neel from Pexels




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Colleen DuVall has written articles, plays, short films, and a novel. Most recently, her work has been featured in her new blog, Off The Beaten Path for the Shepherd Express online (, and the Wisconsin Life radio show for WPR. She recently adopted a little grey and white cat named Tessa, after beloved 22-year-old Bootise passed on.


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