By Elizabeth Ricketson
I planned my first social distancing meeting with a friend yesterday. She suggested three meeting places while allowing me to decide on what would feel the most comfortable during this time of social distancing.  I selected the most open space area with the probability of the least likely amount of people. I reminded myself that this is Vermont and not downtown Boston, where I had just moved from. The extra added bonus being that the location was just a few miles from my home; perfect day for a bike ride. The sun was strong, a cooling breeze and a simple ride. 
Starting down the road the immediate feel of freedom washed over me: a childlike freedom, the most genuine type of freedom. 
The afternoon had all the lovely elements of a lazy unofficial summer day albeit a Thursday. Hours, days, weeks and now months have lost their structure and meaning. No phone, no watch…no recognition of time with the exception of our meeting time. I arrived. Found a place to lean my bike, a picnic table to sit at while I waited for my friend to arrive. Landscapers were busy grooming the vast lawn. A young family working on their garden. A father and son laughing and talking as they navigated the wheel barrel for more dirt. Both wearing masks, the son’s a youthful pattern while dad sported a solid blue. Their lively conversation and laughter were as relaxed and playful as in usual times and maskless times. I guess we are managing. We are adapting.
I sat quietly while I waited five or maybe it was ten minutes as I had no device to confirm how long. The sun brightly shining down on my face felt warm and reassuring. It dawned on me that we will soon have a new definition for tan lines. Will our masks create an image similar to a clown’s white and extended mouth? Instagram posts will be quite entertaining as we continue to live in a not so entertaining time. We are certainly trying to make the best of our circumstance as we move forward with some calculated risks. 
Happy to see my friend and we settled into a socially distanced chat. She sported a very cute mask. Maybe orange is the new black but are masks our new fashion statement? We sat many feet apart but no less engaged in conversation. Chatting with a new friend who has quickly become a dear friend. We had time to learn about each other. Time for questions. Time for more thoughtful and expansive answers. A meaningful conversation with a stunning Vermont background. Hours passed without notice; a welcome new friendship. Moving is hard. Being relatively new in an area is even harder. Grateful.
The ride home was a little slower as I took the time to enjoy the beauty around me. I passed just a few houses as is common in Vermont, but people were sitting in their yards waving and saying hello as I rode by…
A different kind of warmth brought me all the way home.

September, 2020
A graduate of Providence College with a BA in English, Elizabeth Ricketson has always had a
love of literature and the fine arts. In the 1990s, she studied figure drawing at the Rhode
Island School of Design spending years dedicated to understanding human form, movement
and anatomy. Elizabeth is a freelance writer living in South Pomfret, VT. Essays published in
The Providence Journal and The Vermont Standard as well as anthologies. Her blog is titled “It’s
 Her artwork can be found on her Instagram @elizabeth_ricketson. Elizabeth’s essays focus on life experiences and life in Vermont.

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