The mornings are the worst.
I wake up, sometimes with the help of a cat, knowing that the comfortable nightmare awaits. Another day, safe in my home, with the person I have spent my life with, surrounded by reminders of what has been. Collections that no longer have meaning or use, clothes that have not left hangers in months. T-shirts and scarves and earrings, memories of travels no longer possible. Programs of concerts that once filled my evenings. Art supplies untouched.
I will sit in front of my screen in the morning, reading, the ritual I have followed by years. Catch up on Facebook check in with friends. Read some comics, some news, some advice columns. If it’s a weekday, then to log into work. If it’s nice out, maybe a walk at lunch. In the evening, maybe I watch a concert, practice the viola. Sometimes there’s an SCA meeting or function, or a Toastmasters meeting. If it’s the weekend, a board game, perhaps. It doesn’t look all that different on paper. And while I’m in the midst of it, it’s not so bad, and I can forget for a bit.
But it always comes back, the awareness of the danger outside that I cannot put aside. There is nowhere on earth where this danger does not exist.
Today, we planted five cedars in the backyard to mark the line between our backyard and the next. We’d planned this for some time–one of the few long-planned projects we actually could complete. It only took a couple of hours–hours where I thought only of digging, moving dirt around, and making sure the shrubs were not crooked. It’s Victoria Day weekend, and there have been many, many years when I got a little planting done. There is some comfort there.
But this year, there’s a lurking danger in the garden centres, the same danger that’s everywhere. I’m not at Fruits of Our Labours, shooting archery or taking a class. This was originally supposed to be the weekend for the tribute concert for Neil Peart; it’s been postponed to the fall and I’m dubious about even that. I’ve given up on the supposed to have beens.
I sympathize with those who want dates and certainties. I want those things. I can’t have them. But I’ll continue to do my part.
And sometimes, life seems to be too much, and I dream of going to sleep and never awakening. Eternal Rest. And then I chastise myself for my lack of resilience despite abundant privilege.
Tomorrow will be a better day. But another one of these days will come around, too, and probably many more in the coming months. The passacaglia will repeat again.
Today in history: The Dambusters raid, in 1943, aka “Operation Chastise.” I wrote extensively about this two years ago, when the Canadian Warplane Heritage commemorated the event by changing the call letters of its Lancaster bomber and decorating the nose of the aircraft with a special memorial logo. The raid was more of a moral victory than anything, but the accomplishment of planning, testing, and actually running a mission using the bouncing ‘Upkeep’ bomb in only about nine months does certainly prove that incredible feats can be accomplished under pressure by an innovative team. Today, we heard that the first trials of a potential coronavirus vaccine were starting in Halifax. Perhaps, thoy will come to nothing. Perhaps another vaccine will be the one to defeat the virus. Perhaps an effective treatment will come first. Perhaps it will take years. But a small, flickering light of hope is better than none at all.