THE LONG WAIT
I rock myself in bed at night, back and forth – self soothing my restless spirit. I am waiting. Around me the world does the same, struggling from country to country, individual to individual to wait out Covid -19 and variants.
Thirteen months have passed, and I have nothing to show for my time except my fortitude for waiting. Even the incremental steps that lead me out of the long wait back to normal life are making me wait. Early warm temperatures melted the snow and ice on the river seem so early I have an expectation of the activities I do in Spring. And yet, I hear farmers talking about seeding, while fields lay barren before them for weeks, and say. “Way too soon.” I’ve bought seeds for a garden, but there is still two months before the “Plant after the first moon in June” my gardening guru neighbour stipulated years ago.
The river is so low this year only the cement launch at the marina allows entry unless you wish to slog through metres of mud. I wait for a water level that will grace me with a shoreline, whereon I can pull in for a picnic, a swim – all things it is too early to do.
I wait for a revived interest in immersing myself in a television show, a book, a puzzle. Alas, I have spent so much time bathing in these occupations I am a wrinkled prune, all my desire for a good soak washed away.
I’ve watched and waited for special events I could attend each year – Ag Days in Regina, the Stampede in Calgary, Wings Over the Rockies in Invermere – I anticipated like the raising of a flag signifying a new day, the return of my life as I knew it. Slowly, these events are whittled away by government protocols, until too thin to survive – they die, victims of Covid.
Especially, I wait for that which counts most, the demonstrations that tell me I am loved, living my best life, blessed. Hugs from my children, laughing and dancing with my grandchildren, talking with my siblings in the same room, without masks. I wait to invite friends for dinner, or walk into a restaurant with a group for a celebratory occasion.
Waiting is different than just having patience, for it implies hope. If I hang in long enough, this too will pass. And I do find hopeful signs.
As I wait, I see the potential for many good outcomes. Lost jobs mean more hungry people, which has inspired sustainable community programs to feed them. The demand for a cleaner planet has accelerated the production of cleaner products, from electric vehicles to plant based foods. Forced out of gyms and bars, desperate for a break from children with an abundance of pent-up energy, families are recreating and exercising together outdoors, instead of separately hunching over screens inside. The long wait is paying off with new space endeavours, new vaccines, and in some countries, new, rational leaders. Grabbing onto these positives with needle sharp claws lets me hang above the precipice of depression, anxiety, wonder if it will ever end, a little longer.
I wait for an infusion of motivation every morning and rock myself at night waiting for release from this covid cage. Perhaps I will have a better understanding of solitary confinement after this. Like the prisoner sentenced to solitude, I have only myself as a resource. The strength, resilience, faith, patience I need must come from within. Will I have enough? Well, that too, is a waiting game.