“Don’t let Covid steal our summer,” they pleaded. And yet some of us did. There was a little crazy behaviour in restautants, on patios, in hotels and house boats, and the numbers shot up.
All our gains of the Spring went up in beach bonfire smoke. What was different though was the age of the fallen. For the first time we started to see people in their 20s and 30s and 40s felled by Covid-19. People visiting the Okanagan from the coast, the province next door, from the country next door, all desperate to celebrate Canada Day and the start of summer.
As number went from 4 or 5 to 72 or 85, most of us gasped in dismay. Well, being frustrated is not surprising. Nor is wanting things to be normal. Letting off steam at the beach with a few drinks and less clothing in hot summer is an easy a temptation to succumb to. Especially for the younger ones of us, who have been unscathed health-wise to date, and desperate for a little fun and celebration.
All the nurses and clinicians and everyone else who is sacrificing their time, energy, let alone their own usual summer activities must feel as doomed as Salieri who could not produce the genius he acknowledged and inspired in others. Dr. Henry must feel sometimes as a voice in the wilderness, or like Cassandra, who alone spoke the truth even as no one believed her. It does feel at times as if we are living in a Greek tragedy.
While I went for my daily walks feeling a little angry, fearful and disappointed in my fellow man (and woman), my eyes drifted downward, away from the green leaves and blue skies and towards the dank earth and drab concrete path. And there I started to notice another form of fallen summer.
Masks and gloves, discarded. On the sidewalks, the boulevards, in the gutters, on the streets. How long have these been here? Don’t people notice they have lost this or that? Or do they care? Is it deliberate?
Normally I would pick up such litter, but you couldn’t make me pick up this litter without a three-foot stick for a bucketful of cash or even a hug from my mother.