Easter Sunday at the cottage. Calm crystalline lake, cloudless azure sky, a bald eagle swooping and soaring. Banks of snow here and there, but mostly small streams of winter melt. Peaceful & quiet, mother nature doing her thing.
The chaos of the world could not be less noticeable. Apart from the lack of friends and family – oh, and no ham either (we’ve gone pescatarian!) – this could be any Easter in any year.
But this one will go down in the history books as one for the ages. Who, apart from WHO, would have predicted that one week in March would change our world so radically? And apparently WHO didn’t even do that great a job of warning us.
The planet has been upended by something Bill Gates predicted several years ago, and its inhabitants are scrambling in the chaos. Fear, confusion, financial hardship, illness, death, health care exhaustion, social isolation. Not to mention hoarding, shaming, snitching, and paranoia. At the same time, there the are innumerable acts of kindness, most notably neighbours checking in on each other.
Not surprisingly Craig has done his bit. He routinely knocks on Bea’s (a feisty octogenarian) and Bev’s (equally feisty nonagenarian) and Ron & Sue’s doors to see if they need anything. He takes Tim Horton’s treats to the Home Depot staff. At the corner of our property he has set up a doggie treat stand and most evenings he sits on the front step, taking great pleasure in greeting the many dog-walking passers-by. After we move he continues to stock the biscuit jar.
I’m reminded of the old adage that timing is everything. We get a head-start on social distancing way back on March 13 when Craig’s office closes while an ill lawyer is being tested for Covid19. Worried he may be carrying the virus, Craig cancels his flight to Kelowna, rents a car and drives home. We stop going to yoga, movies and restaurants.
At the same time, it is lousy timing for why we moved to Vernon in the first place: expanding our social relationships, especially with neighbours.
We take possession of a new house on March 12. Purchased back in the innocence of February, we buy it to live in while we renovate our 20th St house, with a view to keeping it as a rental property. It’s is a square, 90s bi-level with 3 bdrms, 2 baths on 1/3 acre corner lot, two blocks from a school. It ticks a lot of boxes and is well-priced.
Having Craig home and with plenty of time on our hands, we paint, build two book/TV/fireplace units, move the fridge and do a minor kitchen renovation.
The commercial shut-down really only affects us when Home Depot runs out of the base paint used to mix the colours we’ve chosen. Is everyone spending the down time sprucing up their homes? Not a bad way to pass this surreal time.
Joe (friend of a friend’s son who lived in our attic in Vancouver and is now bunking with his parents in Vernon) helps paint and, most importantly, goes up the ladder to the top of the 14 ft high foyer. And, at well over 6′ tall, he rolls the walls in the basement in a few hours. Unfortunately he gets sick with chicken pox and I finish painting without him. Takes me longer!
The move happens April 6. We spend time settling in. The yard is a large blank slate that will take months of dedicated work to get in shape. Adam, from Inspira Gardening, is going to help. We walk around the yard with him, two meters away. The movers are a different story. They handle all our furniture. I try to wipe everything down but it seems futile and is a lot of work. There is so little of the virus in our neck of the woods that we feel pretty safe.
We are relieved to be in Vernon, to have sold the Vancouver house and moved before all of this uncertainty descended. Vernon feels a little less virus-ridden. Another instance of good timing. And, like many of our friends, we were not travelling, stressed about getting home. We don’t have upcoming travel plans that have to be cancelled.
Craig is discovering the ease of Zoom meetings, and his work mostly carries on without interruption. Others are not so fortunate. Out walking we encounter a neighbour who tells us he’s been laid off from his job, but the silver lining is that he can now stay home to care for his wife with leukaemia. Seriously?!
We count our blessings. We have each other, financial resources, a project to distract our attention from the news of the day, a pantry full of wine, chocolate and coffee. As well as Vitamins C & D. A freezer full of ready-to-eat meals.
Although the ski hill closes a few weeks early, the biking and hiking trails around the city are spectacular and we get outdoors as much as we can. Friends Donna & Ron are on hand as hiking guides.
So while we are not absorbed by the current pandemic, we are very aware and even in awe of living through a global crisis. One on par with … with what? The ice age? the fall of the Roman Empire? the Great Depression? It is difficult to conceive of a historic event that compares in scope and complexity. We are living through one of the most important events in modern history. And most of us are fortunate to be safe and secure, with lovely homes to shelter in. We can use this time to appreciate our good fortune, to rest and reboot, maybe not even reboot, maybe just find a new, less frenetic way of living.
Lucky you if the Easter Bunny visited you. And if not, well, the one slated for your address is probably under quarantine. As for us, we’ve moved too often for for him to find us.
Stay well and as happy as you can. See you on the other side of this. I hope.