September 30th, 2021 – the end of a chapter

We haven’t escaped the mention of COVID-19 since we first heard of it in March of 2020.  As late as March 15th, 2020 we were having breakfast on a brilliantly sunny Sunday morning at the Green Zebra in downtown Sarasota; and only three days earlier on Thursday, March 12th we dined with our friends, Dr. and Mrs. G from Maine. A Democratic leadership debate took place about the same time. Precipitously following the notice on March 16th of impending closure of the Canadian border we scurried home to burrow in our northern foxhole. The gravity of the pandemic was largely lost among the ensuing summer duties relating to hearing tests, blood tests, eye exams, birthdays, income tax, dental visits, social calls with family and friends, insurance renewals, Lanark Historical Society meetings, library lectures, breakfast at the golf club and arranging to have the clocks cleaned.

Getting through the first winter while remaining sequestered in our small apartment in our little town was more notable for its singularity than its punishment. Miraculously we bicycled almost every day throughout the entire winter. And this gusto sustained us through another springtime and summer of 2021. But now – with the approaching autumn and percolating reminiscences of travel southward – we’ve rounded yet another corner of what we imagined would be a long-ago defeated obstruction but still it is not.

Adjustment to this severely altered existence of social-distancing and masks has the added challenge of an undisclosed demon. Putting aside the “It can’t go on forever!” bumph the truth is that not one of us has any idea how serious the pandemic is, how many variants can develop or when we might see our way to so-called normal behaviour – if indeed ever. The blossom surrounding normality has begun to close with incremental firmness. The Government of Canada posts on its web site an official global travel advisory: Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice. There are as well travel restrictions governing provincial boundaries. Seemingly nowhere is safe from contamination.