Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
For the past several years my wife Anne and I have made a tradition of going somewhere — anywhere but home — for each of our birthdays. Last year my birthday trip was among the billions of traditions ruined by the pandemic, all of which paled in significance to the millions of lives lost (and still counting). This year is a different story. Anne and I have each received our pairs of Pfizer shots and reached full efficacy as of April 24th. This past Friday and Saturday the two of us drove out of Indianapolis and found a few places to visit in our eminently imitable road-trip fashion…
…beginning Friday the 14th, when we headed southeast of Indianapolis for some sun, nature, fresh air, nature, and walking space. Over the past year all our favorite physical activities were shut down one by one, from the miles-long marches through and around convention centers to my brisk lunchtime strolls around our once-bustling, once-safe downtown. We have out-of-state vacation plans coming up soon and we really need the walking practice. We figured, why not do it somewhere pretty.
Near the city of Seymour lies Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge, the oldest of Indiana’s three federal wildlife refuges. 7800 acres were set aside for the honor in 1966 and given a name that means “land of winding waters” — am accurate label given the number of ponds and streams we walked next to and around. The visitor center remains shut down during pandemic season, and it offers none of the amenities we’re accustomed to in state and national parks. It’s not a setting that invites family reunions or corporate picnics, but visitors are welcome anyway. We nearly had the grounds to ourselves and came within twenty feet of five other humans at most — a family of four birdwatchers and a guy ready for some fishing.
We assumed it would be like most of our other nature experiences, by which I mean we thought all the animals would run and hide, probably sleep the day away rather than share moments with us. As it happens, several modestly sized critters paused near us and gave us fleeting seconds of their time. We wish we could say we spotted any of the bald eagles that live in the area, but we were happy to greet any signs of life that didn’t threaten us.
To be continued!