COVID is still here complete with all the spinoffs each and everyone of us are forced to deal with each and every day.
It is not easy, but then much of life is not easy, so it is not a big surprise, really.
And, even with COVID marching in with its nasty virus that has complete power to render us so very sick that we may never recover, there is, as always, sparks of sunshine that insist on poking through the veil of pandemic darkness.
For myself, there have been lots of those little sparks of sunshine that continue to brighten my way as I travel through the COVID-19 journey.
There are, of course, the grandchildren. Mind you, there has been no overnight visits, no jumping on the bed, eating too many cookies and staying up late wild and crazy good times at grandma’s house.
But there has been walks in the woods, quiet and serene and perfect with the snow crunching underneath borrowed winter boots on a path through tall Evergreens, silent statues against the azure winter skies.
The quote, “You never know an Evergreen is an Evergreen until the winter,” pops into my mind as we trudge along.
But then my companions, walking with no electronic devices to distract them, begin to chat. And I completely engage in their conversation, finding their boyish wisdom incredibly amazing, heartwarming and most satisfying to the grandmother soul that lives within me.
And during the walk I learn that the path less traveled makes for the best adventure. I also learn that a drone received as a Christmas gift now rests on somebody’s roof never to be seen again. And finally, I learn that going up a slippery slope is much easier and safer when everyone holds hands.
Despite the pandemic, we are experiencing the kind of winter we Albertans hear about, but seldom enjoy. I mean, really, why do we all turn into snowbirds, anyway? Of course, we want to fly away from the snowstorms and the sub-zero temperatures. We want to tune out the guy on the radio that tells us our skin will freeze in about 10 seconds if we dare stick any bare part of it outside.
But this year the weather has been just about picture postcard perfect.
With that in mind, I have cross country skied, snow shoed and the other day I went skating with a friend.
We decided to skate on the lake because, the town, in its benevolence has created not one, but several outdoor skating rinks.
My friend mentioned on the way down to the lake that he had not been on skates for several years. “It will be fine,” I said. “You’ll love it. It will be fun.”
Inside I was quaking, but I did not tell him that I was actually a chicken. A long time ago I was a brave and fearless skater, who had very little common sense. One afternoon, I was enjoying a solitary skate far out on the ice and then, without a moment’s warning, I hit a crack with the pick of my figure skates and my brave and fearless self ended up crawling back to my car with a broken wrist.
But if you fall off a horse you get back on and if you fall on your skates you put ‘em back on.
So, I have done that, but with great trepidation and much less bravery than I used to possess and hopefully a little more common sense.
Anyway, we, being seniors, got our skates on which was a feat in itself. Then we had to actually get to the rink from the car.
And, as we slipped and slid our way to the rink, I started laughing. And I couldn’t stop. The laughing was good, but it did not help my balance or his, for that matter, and so, finally, we held each other up as we most carefully made our way to the edge of the skating rink.
And then we skated. He skated faster, but still, we skated.
And just like I said, it was fun. The ice was, well, it was very icy and there were huge cracks in it, but we stuck together and skated carefully and slowly. Especially me.
And as we skated, I saw, in my mind’s eye this perfect winter scene. It was like a kind of magic, really. There were the skaters and the lights and, crystal clear in the winter air, there was the laughter.
That was the best. The laughter. It truly is the best medicine.
Treena Mielke is a central Alberta writer. She lives in Sylvan Lake with her family.