There is a yard in my neighbourhood that has no front lawn, only a garden of delights. The owner of this garden has worked diligently over 30 or so years to establish a garden that always has something blooming through our short summer. For a while, it has a flourish of red poppies. When I'm into a routine of walking, I love going by this house to see what is growing, which colours are on display. It is most definitely - and perhaps even defiantly - not the 'standard' North American front yard. And I love it for that exuberance and out of the 'norm' presence in my little neighbourhood.
It is a yard that I would love to own, were I a gardener. Instead I am just a delighted audience.
I don't think I'm a Pollyanna - awash with toxic positivity. Instead I would call myself a pragmatic optimist. I always think we can do things better and work towards that goal of being better.
As the past year of pandemic living has progressed, I was able to do risk assessment and follow the science, in part because these are skills and thought processes that I have used all my life. Especially as a weaver.
As a weaver, there is a constant examination of risk assessment. If I use this yarn, will it produce the cloth I want? If I combine these colours, will the result be pleasing to the eye or not? This risk assessment isn't all that different from examining the actions of a virus. How does a virus function? How does it spread? How do I best protect myself - and others - from catching and passing it on?
As more information became available, I adjusted my approach. I am also extremely privileged insofar as I have a partner who is less at risk than I am and who was ready, willing and able to do the public things that any household needs done - such as shopping for groceries. I withdrew from society to a large extent - at least in person. Instead I grounded myself in on line activities such as this blog and then teaching on line, too. Something I never thought I would or could do on my own.
Over the months I have witnessed great sacrifices by medical staff and others as well as great swaths of people who do not (maybe even don't want to) understand how a virus spreads and the damage it can do. In many cases it is the very people who are supposed to understand these things and help protect the vulnerable who have driven the narrative that social distancing and mask wearing is some kind of conspiracy to take away people's freedoms. In fact the opposite is true - the pandemic protocols are meant to help protect people from becoming ill and dying. The short term 'pain' of staying separate is meant to provide everyone with safety from the illness so that we are all still here at the end of it.
We are now about 15 months into the pandemic and there are places where the virus has taken root and is raging through populations. We are privileged to have not one but several vaccines available, which will hopefully soon be available to every country, not just the rich few. When it comes to protecting ourselves, we must remember that until we are ALL safe, none of us are truly safe.
In the meantime, I continue to stay home as much as possible and wear a mask when I need to go out in public. I believe that we can get through this pandemic time, but ultimately we will not - perhaps even should not - go back to the old 'normal'. It will be interesting to see what changes occur in terms of society and politics.
We are living in those proverbial 'interesting times'...