My walk began by getting away from my apartment. Even in a small city like Winfield, there is plenty wildlife to go explore. (Taylor Rodriguez/Staff photographer)A small path opens into a forest with a diverse collection of plants and animals. The birds chirped and sang overhead as they soared over the verdant forest. (Taylor Rodriguez/Staff photographer)A small clearing presents itself amidst a recuperating treeline. Dead brush and branches filled the forest despite spring having already sprung. (Taylor Rodriguez/Staff photographer)Streaks of clouds lazily drift overhead, failing to hinder the warmth of the sun. A gentle breeze drifted by me as I breathed in the fresh spring air. (Taylor Rodriguez/Staff photographer)Amidst a cracked path a four legged creature has left a trail. I was surprised at how close these creatures wander near our homes. (Taylor Rodriguez/Staff photographer)The vibrant green grass grows quickly on the hillside. A perfect hill for a picnic was so close to my apartment and I had no clue. (Taylor Rodriguez/Staff photographer)A feathered critter perches above. Many critters skittered about the treetops as the day went on. (Taylor Rodriguez/Staff photographer)A lush bank riverside sits between a collection of trees. A couple of small fish swam about the water, biding their day away. (Taylor Rodriguez/Staff photographer)A clear patch of sky presented itself in the forest. The path was more overgrown the further I walked into the forest. (Taylor Rodriguez/Staff photographer)A trio of snail shells sit, abandoned for the time being. There were dozens of similar shells scattered among the muddy path. (Taylor Rodriguez/Staff photographer)Spring is here in Winfield for all to enjoy. I wish I had looked out of my window sooner to see what I was missing inside my apartment. (Taylor Rodriguez/Staff photographer)A second path opens into another forest area, although a little too  overgrown. Had I left a little earlier, I may have explored that path as well. (Taylor Rodriguez/Staff photographer)A local feline friend rests in their own potted bed. On the way back to my apartment, I spotted this little bud planted in their pot. (Taylor Rodriguez/Staff photographer)

By Taylor Rodriguez
Staff reporter

Day in, day out, I mill about my apartment looking for something to do.

It is a never-ending cycle of waiting inside, finishing homework assignments and occasionally doing some half-hearted dishes. I got sick of it.

After the outbreak, I was stuck, idly biding my time in a loop of boring, repetitive tasks.

Normally, my time involves working at the Helpdesk, working on various projects in the Christy computer lab or practicing eSports with all my friends.

Never did I think that I would take something as simple as basic human interaction for granted.

I live in an apartment with two of my best friends, but it is getting to the point where it is not nearly enough. Whenever I need to do a Zoom call for work, I almost get excited at the prospect of talking with them.

Having to maintain isolation and social distancing rules is easy. However, the toll it has taken on my mental state is another story entirely.

My mom had her birthday the other day, and I could not go home to give her a big bear hug. That sucked. She and my dad went out to get some fast food as a celebration since there was not any other alternative.

I am getting homesick and my sense of time is becoming warped. Every day melds together with the next. This pandemic has made the last month feel like a very long holiday.

Since I have nowhere to go beyond my apartment, I started to get bored and things have gotten unhealthy. Something needed to change.

When I feel myself being stuck in a loop, I start to get annoyed with many things that I typically appreciate. I start to get frustrated playing video games, my art suffers from harsh self-critique and nothing I watch online piques my interest anymore.

Everything started to feel so pointless.

Overall, I got sick of myself and the things I did. I started to feel suffocated and I wanted out. I wanted things to feel meaningful again. I needed some fresh air. So, I got some.

I decided enough was enough. I’m tired of my daily accomplishments feeling meaningless, I’m sick of thinking that the world in my head is ending, I want to do better for my health overall. I need a change.

While the world is figuratively burning, the great outdoors continues to grow and sway with the wind, not bothered by a single thing.

I went on a walk to admire some of the beauty I had come to love when I was younger. Even in the city, small sections of greenery contain wild nature that I loved to observe.

When I was young, before I became a teenager, I was infatuated with going outdoors. Camping overnight was like a vacation, fishing was exciting even when I did not catch anything, everything seemed so open and wonderful albeit a little scary.

Wanting to emulate the lost feelings, I spent a day exploring the springtime flora and fauna that Winfield had to offer.

Truly, I had a fantastic time. I do not think anything outside of seeing my family could have helped more.

As I walked, there was a soft, springtime breeze to help me stay cool. The vibrant cobalt sky was splattered with sparse clouds, drifting miles above me as I walked.

Birds called out to another from treetop to treetop. They performed a melody of chirp and song that drifted through the air throughout my journey. Spring is here, all of its beauty budding for all to experience.

I encountered mostly birds along my journey; a few were too startled to land near me.

It was fun to have watched these small, feathered friends as they contrasted the bright blue sky and soared overhead.

A majority of my walk was spent wondering why I did not explore more often. As I grew older, something must have changed.

My priorities started to become goal-oriented over enjoyment-oriented. Maybe that is just part of becoming an adult? I needed this more than I realized, and maybe others do too?

I concluded my walk by repeating my path back to my apartment. I feel that a breath of fresh air was the cure for this sickness caused by isolation.

I invite you, reader, to go out and experience some wildlife for yourself. If you are healthy and have feelings similar to my own, why not go on an adventure?

The world may be in a scary place right now and a lot is uncertain in the immediate future. However, this too will pass.

Taylor Rodriguez reported on this story from his apartment in Winfield, Kansas.