From my cozy writing perch at the cottage window overlooking the deck, I look out upon the gently rolling waters of the lake, protected by its robust treeline comprised of maples, birch, pine, cedar, hemlock and spruce , and I wonder, “Wasn’t this the same as when I came here last, in October? The air is nippy as it was then, although the leaves are greener now. But the world was safe then.” That world isn’t safe now. Not anymore. Not like this peaceful lake is, blissfully unaware at what is causing these humans, who always came to vacation here, to run around with masks on their faces.
Yesterday, America broke out in violence, the pangs of hunger, the lack of social assistance, the unresolved seeds of racism, and the pandemic-induced claustrophobia finally snapping codes of civility. In Canada, provinces began barring residents of other provinces from entering as some were statistically more contaminated with Covid-19, and mask-wearing became de rigueur. “Cover yourselves, so that then we don’t need to know who you are or what you represent,” it seems to tell me; “A hockey stick’s distance is no longer sufficient for my comfort level,” it seems to tell me; “Better yet, stay at home for I don’t want to see your face again,” it tells me.
I’m trying to release a book I wrote during a period of convalescence from a life altering event, one I think would expose the evils of child abuse and fake news, and exalt the power of second chances to redeem. But who the heck wants to read that stuff when we are all living through a common life-altering event? Do people have the time and frame of mind to focus on a full length book, when the scattershot news-broadcasts appeal more to their shattered concentration? Should fiction writers invent far-off worlds totally removed from this one because everyone just wants to get away?
Talking of getting away, they say travel and tourism will come back in three years. But who the heck can wait around for three years for negative cashflow to turn positive? What is not talked about is that when things open up “gradually” with effective contact tracing, physical distancing, and adequate PPE in place, there is nothing to prevent a member of your staff suddenly receiving a text message to say that they have been identified as being in contact with an “infected one” and needs to self-isolate for 14 days – and, dear boss, you are responsible for compensation and for finding a replacement to cover the absence. The next day, another staff member gets a similar message, Very soon, you are on your lonesome, wishing for a text message yourself so you could shut the place down, or burn it, and vacate for good!
And so I shut off the world and turn to the beloved lake scene in front of me once again. Why spoil these few hours left before I have to return to the real word. Live in the moment, some wise person said, and right now, this moment is precious. For as another wise person said, “it could be worse!”