This is a photo my beautiful wife, Pam, took last night of beautiful Harrison Lake. I have decided to use it as my new profile cover photo. Unfortunately the profile picture of my aged yet airbrushed face blocks the best part of the Harrison sun set. Oh well, not the first time my face has diminished nature’s beauty.
A Journal of the Covid 19 year. I have just returned from one of my many daily walks along the the lakeside street of Harrison Hot Springs. It is so surreal to walk along the lake and by empty closed businesses that you usually see bustling with visitors this time of year.
Perhaps because tomorrow would have been my 65th birthday if I had not decided to cancel and delay it for five years because of the virus, or perhaps because of the much greater time that we are all spending in our homes now, I find myself much more reflective and thinking about growing up in Levack, Ontario, a town of 3,100 just a little bigger than Harrison Hot Springs). I hope that being reflective of your past is not a sign of impending death. In any event, my walks today remind me of every Sunday in the small town that I grew up in . At that time there was a provincial statute in Ontario requiring Sunday closure. Although I always recognized the problem with imposing a day of rest based on on one faith on citizens of many faiths and often no faith, I did lament the change in the law allowing Sunday openings. Sunday closures created a day when family members would generally be together, rather than individually racing around to jobs and other commitments like all of the other days of the week.
The Covid 19 virus shutdown of most businesses has created that situation every day of the week and reminded me of the closed Sundays of my youth. Don’t misunderstand, I like shopping and being busy on Sundays. The extra day of work has probably improved our collective material wealth. I am a much wealthier consumer because of it. And yet if there is one positive result of this gloomy virus pandemic, it is the forced creation of time for family and reflection. Maybe one day per week of that wouldn’t be so bad.
The present pandemic is life changing for all of us, whether it impacts our health, negatively impacts our savings, businesses and income, or just significantly changes our behaviour. I am preparing to conduct my five weekly UFV classes online (I had planned to die or retire before I had to yield to technology in the delivering of my courses). Our law office is operating in a significantly reduced and social distance compliant manner. My family, rather than travelling or skiing at Whistler, is cocooned in the house for spring break and possibly several weeks after. And as I exercised by walking around a near empty Harrison Hot Springs ( in contrast to yesterday’s crowds of people who came to walk along the water) I found myself in numerous conversations with pleasant people that stood a couple of metres away from me.
All of the above is manageable. Life will return to some form of normal and eventually one will recover from the financial impacts on business and savings. Of course inconvenience and business setbacks are minor compared to those who will suffer the more serious health impacts from the virus and I pray for the best for my family and friends and express my hope that all Facebook friends remain safe and healthy.
I do want to express my concerns for those suffering the economic impact of the virus. I understand that many people forced by circumstances to close down or severely restrict their businesses are being forced to close their income source, their life’s work and their dreams and that perhaps many of those small businesses will not be able to reopen. I know that many people have already suffered layoffs from their jobs and their will be many more in the near future. With so many people living paycheque to paycheque I know that this income disruption will be devastating to many families. I hope that we as a society can manage as much compassion as possible for the victims of the virus whether it be in their health or their financial security.
A ribbon-cutting event.
Full article by The Abbotsford News, here.
Having driven early this morning from Harrison Hot Springs to Abbotsford to drop Lauren off for a sleep over I then spent my morning at the Farmer’s Market, the Abbotsford Pride festivities, shopping and then returned to my happy place, Harrison Hot Springs. Our house is half a block from the beach and this is a poor quality photo up the lake from the beach (iPhones take poor photos).
I enjoy walking the beach several times a day and at dusk when I look up the lake I see the most awesome sunset behind the layers of mountains that jut into the lake. The view always holds me and causes me to stop and contemplate. It is a “pit stop” on the racetrack of life. The view of the sunset over this piece of creation/nature always helps me put my own life, priorities and concerns in perspective. In short it reminds me of how insignificant they are. It is very focusing.
Now I know that the world is filled with awesome pieces of nature that cause introspection and contemplation. I know that there are many such views in BC and Canada.. I know that there are magnificent and contemplation causing views in Northern Ontario. And in Saskatchewan....... wait maybe not Saskatchewan. I got carried away in my hyperbole
My point is that such magnificent views allow us perspective and reflection.
Tonight my wife Pam is in Kelowna, being about three hours from here. This is her third trip there this week. Her 100 year old grandmother is failing quickly and Pam wants to be there. Some of her functions are down to ten percent. Pam says that during a lucid period earlier in the day her grandmother spoke of people whom she had loved or been loved by during her life. Although not lucid now when she rouses she sees Pam beside her and smiles. Pam can’t leave her on that basis. Perhaps at death we all need the presence of someone who loves us.
This is the third time Pam has sat with someone when they passed. She was with her mother and also my mother when she was dying. I am not good at something like that. I am always thinking about what I have to do next and would be rushing the poor departing soul. But Pam is good at this.
Perhaps being a loving presence when someone passes is one of the more important roles in our lives. Maybe being such a loving presence is an accomplishment that at the end of our own lives helps justify the oxygen that we consumed during our years of acquiring whatever it is we foolishly focus on acquiring.
This business of living and dying is quite complicated. Or maybe not. Maybe it just requires the reflection from looking up at my favourite sunset
Photo by Pamela Palmer