Boxing Day 2020 It was a clear day. Warm for a city not too far south of the prairie taiga. The temperature had risen to just below freezing. This walk with Helen wound its way through Riverdale along the river. We stopped to investigate a perfectly round hole in a hollow tree, the work of… Continue reading Pandemic Journal 8/1/2021 – Simone de Bébé
2020: Anosmia, the inability to smell, is a symptom of COVID-19. 24 May 2020: Lily of the Valley blankets the woods in the midst of an abandoned pathway through Mill Creek Ravine. On this afternoon’s walk, my neighbour Maarten and I marvel at the growth. It is as though this green carpet seeped through time from the garden of a once-upon-a-time home long torn down in favour of a public park. A week after this photograph was taken, the delicate white cups of blossoms lined upright inside the arched leaves to fill the air with their fragrance. 1902: When the Edmonton, Yukon & Pacific (E. Y. & P.) Railway began to run trains along this watery tributary of the North Saskatchewan River, mid-wild houses scattered family life the length of the ravine. Now only the hollowed-out ruins of basement and root cellar remain of the homes. A trestle bridge structure still spans the creek.
Stuck inside a pandemic at a moment when the monolith south of the border is dominated by a fascist, it is sometimes hard to focus on the view up close - the provincial politics that undermine our well-being, the city politics that juggle a budget vulnerable to COVID effects and a vengeful governing provincial party that hates our progressive voting patterns. Sometimes it is hard to sleep.
Today I made a delicious vegetarian curry for friends who were returning from their first day at school during a pandemic. The children, their parents, and I shared the curry on the front patio. Socially distancing, of course, especially since Jason Kenney, Premier of Alberta, had just boasted the UCP didn’t spend money to protect the children from the COVID-19 pandemic. Why? you ask. We have our hunches -- he doesn't care much for human beings. And had already distributed billions to rich white oil men running oil companies into the ground and out of province.
I am so very fortunate, I tell myself. Retired and on my own. Not to mention a lifetime of white privilege, class privilege. Location. Location. Settlers have more than a leg up. And now I’m out of the loop of daily care for a young child. I don’t know how I would manage single mothering during COVID. Probably badly. Now I have no one to send to school or not. Home school or not. No classes to prepare. No papers to grade. No schedule to adhere to. The end of summer approaches and I’m writing less, hanging around outside, walking more, leisurely weeding the buckets of thistles and pesky plants that rise up in all this rain and sun.