Monday 24 February 2020

Encounters on the walking trail

Each of the four seasons in Virginia have their distinct charm. The winter season is characterised by low (sometimes freezing) temperatures, snow/sleet, and moody skies. However, the lack of leaves and undergrowth provides excellent opportunities for viewing various varieties of humans, even from a distance and while remaining unobserved ourselves.
These are some of the species that one may commonly encounter while walking on the trails of Northern Virginia. 

The Cryophobic: This species is characterised by bulky layers of winter gear, rendering facial recognition almost impossible. This species receives the weather memos out of phase with the general population. In autumn, they retreat into their winter camouflage and immediately start hibernating. Hence they are rarely seen venturing out except to forage for food and escort their young ones. They receive the news of the onset of spring a little late too. While the rest of the population exhibits field marks of the spring season, these guys are still to be found huddling in their fur-lined boots and winter coats. Their habitat is characterized by high thermostat settings, often in the region of 75+ Fahrenheit. 

The Fast and The Furious (also known as the Fit and the Fabulous): This hardy species is easily discoverable outdoors in all weather conditions. Fleet of foot, they do not hibernate during the winter, preferring to obtain all their warmth from strenuous exercise. Field marks include a lack of appropriate outerwear and even basic clothing. The male is often found running bare-chested while the female prefers sports bras and running shorts. They move quickly and silently, and often the only warning of their presence will be seconds before you spot them, as they rush past with a terse "Excuse me".  

The Social Animal: This species hunts in packs, and have a special affinity for their canine friends. Like the Fast and the Furious, they are also weather-independent due to the need for their canine friends to take a daily constitutional and poop. One need not fear this type, as they are very friendly and social, often greeting others with a cheery "Hey there!" 

The Wildlife Lover: This species is characterized by their gait, which is slow and measured. Often accompanied by a canine, they stop frequently to peer at the trees and plants, and discover birds, rodents and other small animals. They prefer peace and quiet,  dislike loud noises and will fix you with a baleful stare if you walk past talking loudly to your mother in Chennai.

The Shrinking Violet: The Shrinking Violet is not an endemic species, but has been imported from various parts of the world, particularly Eastern and Southern Asia. This species has been found to flourish particularly well in the mild Virginia climate, however it is still fighting for its place under the sun. Consequently, they are often retiring and shy, and prefer not to make eye contact with other humans (though some exhibit more social tendencies). There is some intersection between the behaviour of this species, and that of the Cryophobic.  

Observation of the many types of human inhabiting the trails can be a very enjoyable and rewarding exercise!

1 comment:

  1. If I lived there, I would be category 4 minus the canine:) Promise not to give you or anyone else stares if you walk past talking loudly over phone though :)
    Interesting observations !


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