Pandemic wins another round

oil painting of apples

After more than a year and a half of (more or less) sheltering in place, it looked like the time had finally arrived for me to ditch the Zoom calls and venture out into society once again to do something more meaningful than buying groceries or lumber or hand sanitizer.

My first steps out into this strangely altered world were slated to be a series of genealogy workshops that I would conduct at libraries throughout the Kootenays. These workshops were -- and still are -- designed to teach anyone interested in genealogy how to transform their personal histories into stories capable of reaching a wide audience.

As of July, when the workshops were officially announced and work began to promote them and sign up participants, everything with the pandemic seemed to be heading in the right direction. Vaccinations were ticking along at a rapid pace, case numbers were dropping, and public health officials had announced plans to drop all restrictions by September 1st. We would, thankfully, be returning to normal.

How quickly things can change.

Despite the palpable enthusiasm of prospective participants, community leaders, funders and the libraries themselves, the difficult decision was made to postpone the workshops until next spring, the result of instability related to the recent surge of Covid-19 cases in the BC Interior, challenges in attempting to interpret sketchy public health orders relating to events held in library settings, and concerns that we might be placed in a position to police vaccine passports, something that has led to considerable, disheartening conflict between business operators and members of the public in recent weeks.

So I remain in my isolated world, trying to convince myself that Zoom is somehow a reasonable substitute for pre-pandemic levels of social interaction. Not that I am alone in this. Nor are you.

Here's to hoping that 2022 brings a much needed reprieve before we all forget what it was ever like to live unmasked, to move about freely, and to enjoy the company of friends both old and new.

Based on the real-life 1877 killings of William and Charles Bryan by their neighbours, The Haweaters brings to life some of Manitoulin’s earliest European settlers as they struggle against nature, poverty, and each other in a collective quest to leave their dubious pasts behind them and attain prosperity in this rugged wilderness community. Learn more.