CThe past twelve months have taken us through a journey of a highs and lows, small victories followed by bitter disappointment, and always an undercurrent of doubt that we would ever come together as a global community to conquer this seemingly relentless Covid pandemic. We are not there yet in spite of the rapid development and distribution of effective vaccines. A public health issue has morphed into a political statement. It is frustrating to me that folks are willing to risk their lives and possibly those of their friends, family and countless other contacts because they have bought into a false narrative that Covid is no worse than a bad cold. Or that the vaccine was rushed to market without being properly vetted. Whatever their excuse, it has made recovery and return to “normal” more protracted than it otherwise could have been.
All that being said, we have found ways to finds rays of light in these dark times. We are fortunate to live in an area of low population density and are blessed to have found numerous ways to safely socially distance while continuing to live a rich full life in spite of changing restrictions. We have been able to attend weekly religious services and 3x weekly gym workouts at the university. Sometimes that has meant having to make reservations and/or greatly reduced capacity limits. For a while we were able to go maskless, but they are once again recommended at both church and the gym. In the cold winter months, we could avoid crowds by participating in activities like cross-country skiing, hiking or star and sky gazing (as Don learned how to use his new fancy telescope). When the weather outside turned to snow or after the sun went down, we would put together jigsaw puzzles while we discussed the events of the day. We must have completed close to a dozen this winter. As winter turned to spring, Don was finishing up work on his new Annapolis Wherry while I finished up a stained glass panel of a pair of green-winged teals on a quiet pond. In May we took our first camping trip in two years when we drove to Colorado in our camper van to visit our son and daughter-in-law and also with Don’s cousin in Ohio. In June, our daughter and her friend flew in from California to attend a wedding of her college roommate. They were all vaccinated or tested negative for the virus. It was good to see them all after so much time apart.
With less people out and about during the pandemic, we noticed more wildlife along the trails as we took our Rubi on the Road hiking adventures and have even had deer, bears and moose in the neighborhood. We have continued our Martini Friday tradition, though rarely with others and only when they had also been vaccinated. Social distancing has become habit in places where we don’t know the status of those around us, especially at the grocery store or other shopping venues. Though not required, we are wearing our masks again while shopping to help prevent the possibility of a breakthrough infection. And it sends the right message to others that if we all do our part we can hopefully reduce infections and eventually help weaken this virus so we can all get back to more normal times.
I know there are people out there that believe this is much ado about nothing. That it is no worse than a bad cold. Or that God will protect them. Yet over 630 thousand have died from Covid already in the US alone. Millions worldwide.This shouldn’t be a political issue. It is an humanitarian issue and we are all in this together. While we have found ways to cope during this pandemic, it is not the same as thriving. The sooner we can get the virus under control, the sooner we can get back to our normal activities. And I would very much like to see that happen sooner rather than later