We are social distancing big time now. Sheltering in place is the new word for it. The Borough Assembly is requiring all residents to stay at home except for absolutely neccesary errands until April 15– and asking that we please limit the trips to town to slow the spread of the virus, which still isn’t in Haines, but yesterday the state wide cases jumped again by 17 — making the total 59. There are 11 in Ketchikan. Two in Juneau, and so far two in the Yukon. There is also a mandatory 14 day quarantine for anyone coming into town from Outside (as we Alaskans call every place but here.) The Borough exempted essential businesses and services from the shelter in place rule, but stressed that we all should be mindful not to accidentally get anyone sick, especially the people we will need in an emergency. The lumberyard is still open for emergency supplies, but Chip isn’t letting anyone inside the store except the guys that work there, and they are loading customers up in the parking lot at safe distances.  The first day with the new rules turned out to be busy and not in the way he anticipated.  “Running out of bird seed is not an emergency,” Chip said.

“Maybe it is,” I said.

On their weekly Safety Talk on KHNS,  Fireman Al and Lyle modeled safe behavior and phoned into the radio station. They reminded us all about  washing hands, social distancing, calling the clinic if we don’t feel well, and then gently pivoted to mental health. I guess they can sense the anxiety. While it’s good to know what’s going on and stay informed, Al said in his Texas lilt, it’s probably better to limit the time on-line or in front of the TV, and read a book, take a long walk on the beach, or even just look out the window. That’s a good way to lower your heart rate, too.

Lyle said that he’s been looking out at the bear dens opening up across the river, just like we have, and noted that the eagles have returned to the nest down the road by his house. He’s been keeping an eye on it,  and hopes that there will be eaglets in the neighborhood again. Al chimed in that even the little birds are entertaining and that right now, as he speaks, his feeder is attracting chickadees and juncos, and it’s kinda soothing to watch them flit about.