Throughout December, Evergreen is featuring essays, personal anecdotes, and portraits of Washington workers who have used mountain biking and access to trails as a tool for coping with the stresses of 2020.
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Read on for Noelle's story and to learn why trails are important to her:
Photos courtesy of Noelle Rivas
I am a nurse at Harborview Medical Center where I work in burn/trauma/pediatric.
At first my unit was not taking care of Covid patients, but now we have beds for burn patients with Covid. All of the ICU nurses have been trained to work in the Covid unit and we all spent several shifts there in the beginning to make sure we were ready. A little surreal. And then a lot surreal when people started calling us heroes and Frontline workers. What does that mean anyways? We have always done what we do– we go to work on holidays and weekends, rain or shine. I was a little jealous of everybody getting to stay home, but glad to get a paycheck.
The extra stress of Covid in the hospital is palpable right now, Someone coughs or isn’t up-to-date on their test and everybody freaks out. Then there are people who aren’t doing so well, and you’re at their side. On a recent stretch of sunny days, I rode every day instead of doing housework, instead of doing everything I should be doing. I told my son, “when it’s sunny you get out because on the days you’re stuck inside you are longing for the outdoors.” Riding is pure joy and endorphins replenish the soul. The other day I had the most spectacular ride where I met a good friend and tackled a few features that really fed a deep part of me that needed some love. Physically, I’m like a dog that needs to be run hard. I ride out all the stress, chase out that ball of frustration. My hope for everybody is that they can find something that feeds their soul and negates any sadness they feel inside. That’s what riding does for me.