Adapting to Social Distancing

We’re approaching the peak of Spring in Atlanta.    That means cooking out with friends.  Lounging poolside.  Drinking warm, flat beer at the baseball stadium.  And then suing the facility, the team and the brewery.

However, the Coronavirus pandemic has put a cease and desist order on these activities.  Consequently, we’ve had to adapt.  Authorities have enacted shelter-in-place legislation, banned groups of ten or more and encouraged social distancing. 

City governments interpret the guidelines differently.  To deter large groups, the north Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs closed all of its parks.

The neighboring suburb of Roswell decided to shut down entirely.

I live the eastern suburb of Tucker, whose social distancing enforcement falls somewhere in the middle.  Parks are open but the city encourages safe distancing. 

Henderson park trail map.

So, a few days ago I went hiking in Henderson Park, just a few minutes from where I live. 

When I’m in the forest, I usually stop to admire the plants and look for unique characteristics.  On this hike, I noticed a new pattern. Our concerns about maintaining safe distances had oozed into the atmosphere.  Through osmosis, the forest citizens had become aware of keeping space to remain safe.

I researched each species with Google lens to find out how each species had adapted.

Flowers were the least likely to adapt to social distancing.  They have an innate “Look but don’t touch” attitude.  So, flowers believe they’re above the fray.  But each flower has its own reason for ignoring the social distancing guidelines. 

Flame azalea.

The Flame Azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum) simply believes it is above social distancing.

The bombastic flower has won numerous awards from the American Rhododendron Society.  As a result, the Flame Azalea possesses an inflated ego and narcissistic tendencies.  In addition, the Flame Azalea’s glowing orange flowers attract butterflies, hummingbirds and conspiracy theorists.

Annual honesty flowers.

Annual Honesty (Lunaria annua) maintains social distancing infringes on its Constitutional rights. 

This member of the mustard family has pods that resemble a coin, which has also earned it the nickname “money plant.”  As such, Annual Honesty wants to open up the economy at all costs, as soon as possible.   In addition, Annual Honesty has been reported as invasive in some parts of the country but assumes no responsibility. 

While flowers disregard social distancing guidelines, snakes have had no issue adapting to the recommendations. 

Red bellied water snake.

The Red Bellied Watersnake (Nerodia erythrogastererythrogaster) takes social distancing quite seriously.

So seriously that the snake has altered its anatomy.  Before social distancing, if a predator threatened the snake, it released a foul smelling musk from the cloacal scent glands at the base of its tail.  Now, it releases hand sanitizer if you breach the six-foot zone.

Eastern garter snake.

The Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)attaches a great deal of importance to social distancing.

For example, during mating season dozens of male Garter snakes will converge on one female.  The phenomenon is known as a “mating ball.”  Now, the snakes do their mating ritual over Zoom. 

Even though snakes have a healthy respect for keeping social distance, mushrooms have really taken to the guidelines.

The Grisette mushroom (Amanita vaginata) has a healthy respect for social distancing as well as wearing protective covering.

The species name “vaginata” comes from the Latin vaginatus, meaning “protected by an N95 Respirator.”  The Grisette mushroom engages in mycorrhizal relationships with trees, meaning they have a mutually beneficial relationship.  In the picture below, you’ll see two Grisette couples having a virtual mycorrhizal double date. 

Girette mushroom.

The Bleeding Fairy Helmet mushroom (Mycena haematopus) has adapted exceedingly well to social distancing and helping the community.

This mushroom understands that everybody needs to work together. For example, the Bleeding Fairy Helmet produces a natural latex.  In this critical time, the mushroom donates the latex to surgical glove manufacturers.

In addition, the Bleeding Fairy Helmet has mild bioluminescent qualities. Since it dries up easily, the Bleeding Fairy Helmet uses its natural glow to signal the neighbors that it needs toilet paper and ground beef. 

The hike taught me that nature constantly adapts and I should too.  On the way to the car, the ESPN app on my phone buzzed.  They were replaying the final Atlanta Braves 1995 World Series championship game.  I wanted to recreate the environment and would need to adapt.  So, I opened a beer and set it in the sun for three hours.  Then, I called my lawyer.  I felt like I was at the game.  From a distance.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

16 thoughts on “Adapting to Social Distancing

  1. I love this post! It’s so clever! This blog is a keeper!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thank you so much for the compliments! And, thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Adapting to social distancing has been sort of difficult for us, the social animals. But, the pictures of the flowers and the interesting information did delight me! 😊
    Thanks for sharing!🙂

    Stay safe and stay blessed!💛

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post! Thanks for reading!😀

      Liked by 2 people

  3. A truly original take on the lockdown. This made me smile 🙂 thanks for posting!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! Thanks for reading!😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. justcalmwildness May 4, 2020 — 4:34 am

    This is a very interesting take on social distancing. Love the flowers too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks a lot and glad you enjoyed the pics!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey! I love your tagline! I have to say, I’ve never taken an interest in reading about flowers before this!
    The mushroom and the snake did catch my interest. The snaps were awesome!
    Have a safe and happy week ahead!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much! I’m really glad you enjoyed the post and the snaps! Thanks for reading and have a safe and happy week ahead too!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Brian, I’ve nominated you for a Liebster Award – feel free to take part if you want to, just take a look at my post of the same name 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Nice post I was in the park the other day and a coyote was walking down a path with while we are social distancing the animals are reclaiming the paths
    Stay well and Laugh A Lot

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Great story! I will and you too!


  8. street life in the US – well told!


  9. Interesting and unique perspective! A great piece 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kind feedback and thanks for reading Caroline!

      Liked by 1 person

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