The Big Picture
There is no doubt that 2020 was a tough year. More than 83 million people worldwide were infected with covid-19 in 2020, and more than 1.8 million have died. Every one of us knows someone who has had the disease, and even if the lives of those close to us were spared, we have heard the tragic stories of so many who have passed away, including, especially, our elders.
Add to that the extreme wildfires in Australia and California, the explosion in Beirut, the murder of George Floyd, and the stomach-churning in-your-face pandemonium of American politics, and it is clear that 2020 has been a bleak year.
Of course, there also have been heroes, collaborative efforts, and sweeping changes that have reaffirmed my faith in human nature and science.
Thank-you to governments and public health leaders who have made the right choices during the pandemic, whether by quickly allocating funding to workers forced to stay at home, or by making the hard decisions to order unpopular public health restrictions before our hospitals were overwhelmed. I count our public health officer here in BC, Dr. Bonnie Henry, among the heroes of the pandemic.
Thank-you to the essential workers who have made it possible for others of us to stay home. As well, I thank the everyday heroes, my friends and neighbours, who have trusted science and chosen to comply with quarantines, physical-distancing guidelines, and mask wearing to protect themselves and others around them, day after day after day. It has been hard, and will continue to be hard for some months to come.
Thank-you to the scientists who have pulled out all the stops to develop safe vaccines in record time. This accomplishment has involved a level of international scientific collaboration that is unprecedented. It shows we can work together when we understand the gravity of an problem. Let's hope the same level of dedication and global collaboration will next be applied to the existential problems of climate change and species extinction.
At a Personal Level
I have been very fortunate in most ways throughout this pandemic, and for that I am deeply grateful. Yet, even so, there have been some sad times, personally, during 2020. Our beloved dog, Kate, died in July. Shortly after, our cat became ill and his health continues to decline. Our retaining wall at the back of our property failed, and repairing it will be difficult and expensive. We've missed being able to spend time with friends and family in person during much of the year.
Yet, in the grand scheme of things, these are minor and temporary wrinkles.
Overall, for me 2020 has been a year of much new learning and many happy moments (in spite of the dire pandemic backdrop). I realized Rob and I have had many joyful experiences in 2020 when I looked in my phone to find a few photos to illustrate this blog and ended up choosing 50!
|Under the Banyan Tree|
We were in full tourist mode in Maui, and we saw a lot.While we were there, we began hearing on the news about a new and lethal virus spreading throughout China. Like so many other North Americans, we hadn't yet realized that we were on the verge of a worldwide pandemic.
|Playing with Trucks on top of Haleakala|
In the meantime, we hiked, snorkeled, swam, kayaked, and went out on boat cruises. We marvelled at the sea life at the aquarium, and swam with turtles.
We had a condo with a kitchen, so we breakfasted at the condo, and then usually made a picnic to take along on our day trips.
Most evenings, we enjoyed trying out the various restaurants on Maui.
I have been to Maui before, but it was many years ago. So I was intrigued to revisit places I remembered from that trip.
We were lucky to have fabulous weather while we were there. Many evenings, we walked through the parks admiring the sunset. I have dozens of sunset photos, but I decided to only include the one.
Our trip to Maui was the last foreign travel we will do for a long time.
Enjoying the Outdoors on Vancouver Island
Back home in Canada, we had a wonderful time skiing at our local ski hill during February and the first half of March. In fact, we had the skis packed in the truck and were about to leave to drive to the ski hill on the day everything closed down in BC in mid-March.
We live on beautiful Vancouver Island, so we switched to other outdoor activities.
In the initial six weeks of the pandemic restrictions, everyone was encouraged to stay home and only to go out among people as little as possible. However, outdoor activities were allowed, as long as we employed physical distancing.
We are fortunate to live in a semi-rural area, where there are lots of trails through the forest and along the ocean shore.
As it became safe to do so, we began to meet up with friends and my adult kids for hikes and picnics.
|Hiking with my Son|
I realized that for me, not seeing my kids and grandkids throughout the spring months has been the most difficult period of the pandemic so far.
|Hiking with my Daughter|
Although we talked on the phone and used videoconferencing, it was not like being together in person.
In the summer months, the numbers of daily new cases in BC were in the single digits. So many of the earlier restrictions were lifted.
I helped my daughter out providing part-time childcare while she worked. I loved having "Grandma time" with the two boys!
So, although it was a terrible year in many ways, for me, the first six months of 2020 also had many happy highlights. During this pandemic, I have learned that being able to spend time with those I love, and also spending time in nature are things that allow me to find joy even in difficult times.