Last week while I was out for a run along an unpaved rural roadway, I came upon a message that had been scratched in the gravel. It was simple in its wording but powerful with its intent: “Have a great day.” During these turbulent COVID-19 times, such an anonymous message speaks volumes with its request to all.

I do not know to whom I should give an acknowledgement nor do I know why that person marked it on a remote section of a gravel road, however, to that individual I say “thank you.” Your thoughtfulness gave me a lift in spirit and enabled me to use in this letter as my public praise for your concern, and I am confident, your heartfelt good wishes.

As we strive to get through this pandemic and to maintain our hopes that it shall soon end, we must each give our contributions to encourage and to support others. It might be a simple greeting to another person out within the community – while social distancing – or communicating to folks while they are in self-isolation. It can also be acts of kindness that assists others.

COVID-19 has altered our lives and changed the ways in which we shall safely go forward. Social protocols will be implemented; health treatments will be developed and economic realities will strike all of us. Our commercial transactions have also been radically altered with businesses struggling to adjust within the multitude of changes under which they now must attempt to operate and to survive.

This darn virus directly attacks our physical health but also impacts our mental well-being. During these stressful times it would be too easy to slide into non-healthy practices. What you do to get safely through this mess is up to you but you should also definitely take measures to keep your mental state strong. There will be much information to be concerned about due to the bombardment of pandemic updates coming via the health authorities, social media, news broadcasts and wherever else we go to be informed.

I am not a medical person therefore my words are based on what I have learned throughout my life – via good and bad times – that have worked for me and have not resulted in additional problems to myself or to those for whom I care. Therein lays the challenge: Do what works for you and yours but what is permitted under the regulations to which we are obligated to follow.

Years ago, I had the pleasure of receiving advice from a soldier of World War ll. When I inquired about how he and his comrades survived the horrors of their years at war, he stated it simply: “We went one day at a time.” My request to you is to please not worry about tomorrow, to get through today safely and to stay healthy. Keep both your body and mind well.

As was succinctly communicated in gravel on a rural roadway in Guysborough County, we all must attempt to “Have a great a day.”

Ray Bates