This is Tim Benjamin’s article that appeared in the Evening Leader on Oct 12, 2020
I am brokenhearted that the walk with nature became a victim of COVID. I missed the walk with nature last year because I had two funerals on the day of the walk. We are having a gorgeous fall and if we can avoid having any big rainstorms to tear down all the leaves, we will certainly have a great opportunity to see God showing us just how beautiful His creation can be.
The walk with nature has been turned into a virtual event. That means you can go out and talk your own walk on your own schedule. I want to strongly encourage you to do just that. I take frequent trips down the tow path and I can tell you, it is absolutely stunning this time of year. Much work has been done to the two path and it is a wonderful place to walk, especially north of St Rt 33. Social distancing is very easy to do on the tow path and it is truly one of the most beautiful places in all of St Marys. Don’t miss the chance to go out and take in the fresh air and soak in some autumn sun.
Since we are not having many in person events, it is all the more important to take advantage of what is out there. Not only is it good exercise, walking the tow path is also a celebration of our community. We all must work together to keep it nice. To the person who rode their horse down the tow path and neglected to clean up after the horse, that is a public space we all have to share. I could have lost a shoe in that pile! I am glad the sun had come up a little before I left to run this morning because that would not have made me very happy.
I don’t pass many people out there when I run in the mornings. That is the purpose of this article. Turn off whatever screen you are staring at and go for a walk. The fresh air will do you good and lift your spirit. You might see a rabbit or a squirrel, but the Canadian Geese are gone, and it is too cold for the snakes and turtles to be out. The tow path is a wonderful community resource and I would love to see more people take advantage of it. That is why I am so sorry we weren’t able to have the walk with nature this year.
Yesterday, the churches in town came together to hold a community worship service down in Memorial Park. The hope was to give the community some place to gather and be a community. We have spent so much time isolated in our houses that we need to experience some community. I know that COVID is a concern and there are precautions that need to be observed. I fully understand that there are those at risk who in no way should ever come out in public. But someone is shopping at Kroger. Someone is attending sporting events at the local school. Someone is driving in all of these cars going all over town. To those folks who are able to go out, we need to provide a chance for them to connect in a community.
We live in a distant and divisive culture. The contention around the election, the protests drawing attention to needed reforms, the riots that are turning people against other people. All of these things are a symptom of the adversarial way we look at our fellow people. These COVID lockdowns have not helped us feel any more connected. I know that steps were needed to slow the spread of the virus, but at some point, the question has to be asked; is the cure is worse than the disease?
I know every time I write an article about the lockdowns; I get responses from people in at risk communities who are concerned about my encouraging people to take chances with their lives. Please hear me, if you are locked down and have risk factors, please do not come out. But there are plenty of people driving cars all over the place which means there are people who are still going out. If people are willing to gather in the name of sports, then why can’t we give them a chance to gather in the name of celebrating our community by walking the tow path or in the name of worshipping the Lord?