I tend to indulge in fantasy thoughts that I will write about something fun, exciting, perhaps revelatory as I share recent experiences and thoughts. Bound by truth, there’s nothing of that nature happening. There is the periodic walk with a couple of friends, the immediate surroundings that have been my centre for 14 months, and me. Pondering almost 65 years of living. I am blessed to have my millennial offspring for the occasional weekend, and one long stay due to a move and renovations. Those visits add energy to the household, moments of personal humility, and extra bodies to nurture.
In the first waves of the pandemic, it seemed to me that the entire world was shut down. That we were all in this together. There was comfort and acceptance of our circumstances. Of our diminished freedoms. Of the threat. The fear and disquiet were widely shared. And no one seemed better off. The same or worse were the two comparisons. That’s not so anymore.
I’m a witness to phone calls from friends ignoring the stay-at-home advisory — visiting the sunny warm southern states. Flying down and back to land in the northern United States. Avoiding the quarantine rules by driving through the land border — a wide-open space too large to be considered a loophole. And while they’re there, two doses of a vaccine are easily attained. Their Mother’s Day included a facial and massage, beachfront brunch and elegant dinner at a restaurant. There were no masks. There were no plexiglass shields between tables. There were no round dots on the floor commanding your standing location. Back to normal, so I hear.
On my Mother’s Day afternoon I joined my husband to watch a golf tournament. Thankfully for my avid golfer, the next best thing to being on the course, club in hand, is watching one of the greats play. For me, it’s watching how the game is meant to be played. Imagining my miraculous driving and putting skills gleaned from observation, should the links ever open. We tailed Rory for the last nine holes. The back nine is where the magic happens. Or where defeat is seized from the jaws of victory. Rory persevered.
Apparently, Charlotte, North Carolina is another Covid – free pocket. The crowd of over 10,000 spectators stood side by side, crushing against the rope holding them back from the fairways and greens. There were no masks. There was no distancing, There were hugs, pats on the back and many handshakes. Cameras panned the rows of white teeth and wide smiles. I was envious and furious. Were they crazy or fortunate? Immediately consulting Dr. Google I learned that thirty-five percent of the total population of the state has been fully vaccinated. Were they all at the PGA tournament? And, in the sad reality of inequity, were all the players, their families, and caddies fully vaccinated?
Though Rory is one of my favourite golfers, his victory left me with mixed emotions. I was unable to access happiness for his success that wasn’t tainted with discomfort at the blatant display of privilege and casual disregard of the realities of the pandemic. If the national coverage of the return to normal was supposed to instill hope and free us from the shackles of contagion, I missed it.
I’m left with our Canadian situation. Are we realists; truthful and responsible? Or defeatist and paranoid? Though we are improving our ability to mass vaccinate, we are continuing to add red zones in several provinces. Though the current lockdown in Ontario is scheduled to end May 20th, most anticipate an extension. Viral rumours of outside recreation areas opening up — golf courses, tennis courts, basketball courts, boat and water access — are all hearsay. The signs and caution tape still barricading paths to mental and physical well-being. The kids are still Zoom-schooling.
In true Canadian fashion, I apologize for my rant. The viral nature of my frustration, mixed with envy is showing. As the tattooed cursive letters along the inside of my left arm proclaim, “this too shall pass”. I am confident that with warmer weather, sun to dry the mud, and finally moving my planters of flowers and vegetables into their rightful garden locations, my optimism and energy will blossom in concert with my peonies.
At least, that is my experience.