We have felt the ground shift from underneath us many times in these last few months. When I stop to connect the dots to where we are today from where we were the last time that I sat down to write this message I feel like I have accumulated a lifetime of experiences. However, in many ways I process an odd connection to the events and realities of the last few months and I struggle with the idea that I have been more of a spectator than a participant. For someone who likes to move, to be involved and try to make a difference this was, at first, difficult for me. To feel like I was contributing to the goal of flattening the curve by staying at home took a little getting used to and perhaps there was also a little bit of guilt attached as I watched family, friends, neighbours and colleagues heading off to the frontlines. But as every day passed, I was becoming more comfortable with my bucolic life at home on the north shore of Nova Scotia.
Being a spectator is an incredible place of privilege. In the last few days we have seen this word emblazoned on protest signs carried by young, old, black, white, and every other beautiful colour in between. Privilege. It’s a word that is powerful enough to pull people outside of their safe places where we have been told to ‘Stay The Blazes Home’ to confront another more serious illness in our society, one that is not going to disappear with a vaccine or herd immunity.
The shifting ground underneath our feet has opened up a lot of cracks and there appears to be a rush to the surface with a number of maladies that have been festering for far too long. And remember, I am writing this from my sofa looking out at the blossoms of my crab apple tree drinking a cup of herbal tea, but has a global pandemic opened a global Pandora’s box? Is 2020 the year that was projected with so much vision and hope going to go down as one of the most reviled years of recent decades, or do we have time to switch the narrative and start solving some real problems? While I have been left feeling a little helpless in the fight against the pandemic maybe we all have a better chance helping to fight a bigger problem that addresses equality and human dignity.
At Home on the North Shore is a publication that comes from a place of privilege. I often use that word to describe how fortunate I am to be able to meet so many amazing people in our region. Because of the economic challenges and other impacts of flattening the curve, this issue of At Home on the North Shore was not an easy one to pull together and I thank everyone who has made a contribution.
Our connection to you begins with some ideas about how to transform our homes into our little havens and then jump into a bigger story about how community activism can shape our health care delivery and overall regional prosperity. Then we get to take a little break and a dive into a story of legacy and love for summers at the beach. It’s a story that many of you will be able to identify with as we wondered only a few weeks ago if we would be able to open our cottages or wander the shorelines and trails for an escape from the heaviness of these recent days. I want to express my gratitude to Monique and Rob Sobey for welcoming us into their family cottage. When we took the photos last summer and started to talk about the story and connections to Rob’s grandparents none of us had any idea what our world would be like today. But it is stories like these that remind us where we all have come from. We all have a family story that we will pass along to the next generation.
We are living through an incredible moment in history. This is our opportunity to write the next chapter. A few weeks ago, author Sara Jewell who shares her Field Notes column with us in every issue, interviewed me for a collection of stories that she was writing about the way different people were responding to the pandemic. She asked me about my own response, not as a businessperson but, as a fellow journalist. My answer really covers both of these aspects of my life. I told Sara that one of the things that I was most curious about and concerned me, was how we as a community and greater society emerge from this period of time. I should have told her that I am starting to gain much more clarity in what our future might hold just by watching my own children. The events of the first half of 2020 might be the best education they have ever received.
As our province begins to open up and I can transition back to my comfort zone as participant I realize that my time as a spectator was not wasted. I have been given a gift from the people who did answer the call as essential workers and have been privileged enough to watch and listen while I learned a little more about what I need to focus on when life is in full swing again. Until then I will try to find my own place in the sun where all of these ideas have a chance to grow and warm me up after some very dark, chilly days this spring.