The quiet covid commute

by David Robertson March. 31, 2020 180 views

I commute 70 miles everyday, and start in the big city of Walla Walla (45000) and travel through orchard and wine country before arriving at my work in dryland wheat land. It is expansive, but also sits in the foothills of northeast Oregon's Blue Mountains which are snow capped and beautiful this time of year. Big black storms occasionally float through the plateau like they did today with winter angrily handing things over to spring and giving a gasp of hail, or snow or cold rain.

Wheat requires lots of land, and there are just a scattering of farms out here. I travel a small two lane highway that had few cars before and with the pandemic it has become even quieter. I see more police now, and always worry that I am going to have to explain why I am not at home like most folks. I work in ag research and am federal which counts as two exemptions, but would prefer not to have to justify it on the fly.

My work consists of being the only person having an office and lab in one building, and going to do field work in places such as those above. Our work is important as we are trying to feed people with less soil and water loss and trying to help farmers in an exceptionally dry area find a way to be more productive. It makes social distancing not a problem, and I think of my fellow humans trapped in big cities with more stringent requirements and higher infection and death counts and realize how lucky I am. I grew up in L.A., Portland and Seattle and easily could still be there. Sometimes I hear the siren song of the city and think perhaps I want to go back, but one visit and I realize there really is no going back.

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Charlene Robertson 1 year ago

Beautiful photo wonderful writing...

1 year ago Edited