Categories
Uncategorized

Better here than there

I could’ve written something about the SARS-2 Corona Virus when the global pandemic was declared by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020, but I didn’t until today, 302 days later, after Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for countries to, “. . . take urgent and aggressive action . . . the agency has rung the alarm bell loud and clear.”

At the time, my impression was the WHO had taken their time in declaring the pandemic. I had been following news of the Sars 2 Corona Virus since late January, but at the time I didn’t write anything down about it, apart from a letter I sent to some people I care about. I was busy doing other things, among them thinking about what I would be planting in my new sustainability garden. Looking back through the pages of my 2020 garden diary I’ve only found two references to Covid-19: one on March 13th, and the other on the 15th:

2020.March.13.,  “ > 110 000 cases of Covid-19 worldwide.” And this:

“Where is the data that confirms a 5 day incubation period?”

While 110 000 Covid-19 cases worldwide sounded huge then, the number has only taken off from there, There are now well over 87 and a half million cases worldwide and the total number cases is still increasing.

There was nothing else written in my diary to suggest I’d ever found the answer to my question about the 5 day incubation period, but judging from the quarantine restrictions imposed by most, perhaps all government jurisdictions in Canada and internationally, 14 days has apparently been settled on as the number of elapsed days necessary to ensure that anyone arriving in Canada from somewhere else is non-infective with Covid-19. 

Looking back hoping for further references to the pandemic in my garden diary proved futile; this was my 2020 garden diary after all, and I’m a legend in my own mind for wanting to keep the ‘main thing’, the main thing.  At least there’ll be lots of primary-source information to include in my year end garden report — if I ever manage to write it.

But there are so many other things I could write about besides gardening. Covid-19 obviously, politics, books, ideas, journalism, even the weather, my ideas about acoustic music: the problem for me is not so much what to write about but where to begin.

A few weeks ago, on my Facebook page, a platform I’d like to get away from, I invited people who respond to a post by indicating a single word or phrase they associated with when where or how they became associated with me. I was astonished that over 50 people responded and many others who’s opinions I also value, choosing not to.

I started thinking about the larger group, those who had replied to my silly question immediately along with those who had not probably comprised my audience. A few days later, I realized that should I ever jump into the deep-end of the social media pool and commit to generating steady content for a self-published blog, it would probably be this larger group of people that I’d probably be writing for.

After the middle of July, 2020 the number of entries in my garden diary dropped off to zero.  It wasn’t because I had stopped gardening, it was because I had stopped writing about it. I’d become so busy actually working the garden that I didn’t bother to write things down anymore. Looking back, this was disappointing to me because keeping things going and bringing them to completion is also something I value.

Being really new at this, I believe have no choice but to take small steps, but I don’t think I would be wasting my time if I encourage you to leave a comment, letting me know your thoughts, and suggesting what might make this blog one that you might keep returning to. In a genuine sense, I’m working for you; my only payment so far is your interest, as reflected in your comments and other feedback. whether or not this website is something I can think about later.

If the surprises of 2020 have been any indication, I think there’ll be lots up for discussion in the weeks to come; 2021 shows no indication of being any less astonishing than 2020, as the events in Washington, D.C. yesterday would confirm.

So don’t be shy about leaving a comment, giving me honest feedback, suggesting the topics you find most compelling, as well as those that do not.

One more thing. I haven’t determined a regular schedule for posts here, but I’m thinking that once per week might be enough for me to commit to; twice per week would mean the blog would become a job; more than twice per week would end up being an annoyance.

Feel free to subscribe, share, comment and to provide me with any feedback that you’d like.

[N.B.  While writing this blog entry, my TV was off, and when I was finished I went for a two hour hike up along the Big Chungus River Loop.  It wasn’t until later I heard about the bad craziness going down in and around the U.S. Capitol building which resulted in the death of a woman who was fatally shot in the neck while trying to climb into the Chamber of Congress through a broken window.  I’m glad I wasn’t there.]

Categories
Uncategorized

It’s a really good time to hunker down

For the past eight months or so, people living outside of British Columbia’s largest city have been less directly affected by the SARS 2 Corona Virus pandemic and its signature disease, COVID-19.

For people living in smaller cities, towns, and villages pandemic news has focussed mainly on events happening somewhere else, over the hill and far away. 

In the minds of many British Columbians, the SARS-2 Corona Virus pandemic exists as an abstraction if it exists at all.

Even now, as rates of infection and subsequent deaths rise, there are still a majority of British Columbians who remain completely untouched by COVID-19. For them, including everyone in this household, the global pandemic has seemed unreal: not totally fake, but not completely genuine either.

I’m not surprised by this.  After all, early last Spring British Columbia’s citizens responded well to admonitions from government and public health agencies to “flatten the curve”. Citizens in rural BC, places without any confirmed cases of COVID-19, accepted and mainly supported such unprecedented measures as complete closures of schools, health care facilities, and many businesses.

As a consequence, what was initially seen as a relentless upward curve of deaths as the result of COVID-19 was flattened.  

Summer arrived, the crisis eased, and things started moving back to ‘normal’.

The curve was being flattened but COVID-19 wasn’t being rubbed out. Toward the middle of July, steadily, relentlessly, COVID-19 infections started to climb again. Infections are increasing daily.

Now, well into the Fall, we hear reports of increasing numbers of infections, followed inevitably by rising numbers of fatalities days and weeks later.  The main question now is whether or not today’s number of reported new cases is once again higher than yesterday’s number.

Despite these worrisome facts, a majority of people in British Columbia still have not been directly or indirectly harmed by COVID-19, only inconvenienced.

The death toll continues to rise, but unless we or a family member is working in one of the so-called ‘front-line’ jobs, the majority of Canadians still have no first-hand proof of the pandemic, only secondary evidence, relentless media reports delivered via the internet — the same medium as cat videos, click-bait and celebrity gossip— a medium that consumers find easy to dismiss.

How many people will have to die of or with COVID-19 before Canadians change their own behaviour in a way that flattens the curve indefinitely?

The Washington-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation suggests that number is trending upward. 

Their graphic models estimate and average daily COVID-19 death rate of 2 per day on November 16th will double to 4 per day by the middle of December, and double again to 8 per day by years’ end, a four-fold increase in daily COVID-19 deaths over the next 6 weeks.

For the BC families who lose a beloved great grandparent, parent, sibling, spouse or child over the course of the upcoming holiday period, that’ll be one hell of a Christmas present, one that no one would ever wish to give or to receive.

But remember: a projection is only a statistical guess: it’s a long boney finger pointing toward an unknown unknowable future; it’s by no means predictive.

There’s a lot that individual British Columbians can do to effect different and better outcomes.

These same projections suggest that by the middle of February, 2021, death rates will begin to moderate and possibly decline, but this too will only be achieved as the result of widespread willingness of citizens to abide by hygiene, mask-wearing and social distancing protocols.  It could just as easily go in the opposite direction if people are careless.  

What better time than now to do everything they can as individuals to 1) keep themselves healthy and avoid infection, and 2) do everything they can to limit the spread of the virus now and well into 2021.

It would be a good thing for everyone to hunker down and stay put — right through the end of the year and into 2021. Doing so just might save a life, maybe your own.

Categories
Uncategorized

Snowed Under

   A few days ago it was early Fall and I was thinking about the many small and larger jobs to do within the deer-fenced perimeter of my garden across the street. 

Then, day before yesterday, I noticed early morning temperatures had dropped by about 5 degrees Celsius and snow was forecast.  06:30 on October 23rd, it started to snow.  And snow. And snow some more.

It snowed all day, breaking previous 1899 record for snowfall, leaving about a foot of perfect powder.  

Looking at the calendar it’s assuredly still Fall, but a glance outside suggests that it’s already Winter.

Now, everything needing to be done in the garden still needs to be done, except now all those jobs are buried underneath a foot or more of nice, fluffy snow.

Damn!  What is it that causes me to put off necessary work, to give in to the inertia, yield to the ‘lazy’ gene instead of getting important things like digging root and green leafy vegetables and bringing them indoors where they might do some good?

I’m going to explore the question posed by my garden; it has become increasingly obvious to me that I’ve not done what I should have done these past several weeks; it has been my own failure to pay proper attention to ‘the work’ needing to be done — not just in the garden — in other areas of life as well!

There’s no practical choice for me now except to pick up a few tools and start clearing away the snow. Denial is futile, and probably fatal.