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.
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.
My often privileged life is long enough to have had many ups and downs over almost seventy years including navigating the unevenly distributed challenges of this global pandemic. My daughter is the highlight of my life well-lived. I am grateful for the gifts of adoption, for the lifetime of love that ties us together.
Why did I want to rid myself of this beautiful piano? Newly retired, I wanted to make the house sparser, less a revelation about the material debris. amassed during 26 years in any house. The boxes of papers. The books in piles and shelves. Collected objects, story prompts, dear debris I've amassed in beloved junk stores where I’ve wandered. The things that make a life. I would call this blogpost a dilation. The lens is turned to admit more of a scene that leads us down linked but discontinuous subjects. All of them find a woman in the frame. A daughter. A writer. A political leader. Her mother. A chef. And a cook, me, writing up a storm. A delicious surprise ending.
24 March 2020 Dear Pandemic Reader,Shall we let the calendar blur into a whirl of days? Dress up at night for our dreams? Sleep like perambulating beauties outfitted in day wear? Love, In social isolation for who knows how long? I confess... I long for the touch of a friend, the hug of a child… Continue reading Pandemic Journal 24/3/2020 — a time travelling walk after dawn…