What we can learn about social distancing from a Teddy Bear Cholla

Before the nasty Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic of 2020, most of us had never heard the term “social distance”. Turns out it could be key to survival. At the very least, it’s a good way to lower our chances of contracting the virus.

What is social distancing?

In a nutshell, it means to create space between you and others. Experts recommend avoiding group sizes of more than ten people and keep a distance of six feet or more from others. The refrain from a popular 1980s Police song has been playing in my head a lot lately: “Don’t stand so close to me.”

Teddy Bear Cholla
Teddy Bear Cholla in Phoenix Mountains Preserve

Recently I was out giving myself a little social distance in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve when I came across this Teddy Bear Cholla that demonstrated the practice perfectly.

How to social distance like a Teddy Bear Cholla:

  • Find an isolated place not likely to be frequented by people
  • Claim your space and firmly plant yourself in that spot
  • Extend your arms out in all directions so others know this is your space
  • For added protection, toss some prickly “cholla balls” on the ground around you
  • Maintain this position until officials say it’s safe to congregate with others

The Covid-19 coronavirus is no joking matter. But if laughter is the best medicine, it may help us all to look for humor in more places. I found healing on Arizona’s trails many years ago. These days I try to stay healthy with regular doses of time spent in nature, and by keeping a sense of humor. I hope you do too.

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