Thank you COVID for opening our eyes

The Red Shoe Pub in Mabou donated $15,000 to the ICMH Charitable Foundation to support the emergency department at Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital (ICMH). Pictured (front from the left): Shannon Beaton, registered nurse, emergency department and Brenda Rankin MacDonald, ICMH Charitable Foundation fundraising coordinator. In the middle are (from the left): Angela Smith, manager and Heather Rankin, co-owner of The Red Shoe Pub. In the back are (from the left): Angela MacArthur, director of integrated health for rural sites in Nova Scotia Health Authority’s Eastern Zone; Kyle MacIsaac and Mary MacLeod, registered nurses, emergency department.

Dear Covid-19,

Yes, you have caused chaos. You have caused fear and anxiety. You have caused sickness and death.

But do you know what else you have caused? You have caused everyone to just slow down and smell the flowers. You have made people realize that material things don’t really matter, but love of family and friends is most important. You have caused many of us to declutter and downsize because it is just stuff and holds no value.

You have given us time to reconnect with family by playing games, reading, watching movies, working and playing outdoors, with the ones most dear to us. Children are connecting to their parents, which had been a lost art for several decades because work got in the way. They are sharing quality time together through cooking, music, art, common interests, etc. and maybe they are creating common interests they didn’t know existed.

Parents are realizing it isn’t so easy being a teacher and have gained more respect for those trained in the teaching profession. We have all gained more respect for front line and essential workers.

Acts of kindness, that would have been taken for granted, are now appreciated so much more than ever before.

You have made me enjoy, even more, the little things in life like the feeling of amazement while observing the small red buds form on the trees and gradually burst into a beautiful leaf; like the feeling of excitement watching the birds return from their winter vacations; like feeling so encouraged, by a kind remark, about how well my yard looks; like the feeling of love and compassion from being with my Mom, and best friend, daily; and like the feeling of love when we received a care package from my brother and his partner.

You know what else COVID, we are finding humour where it didn’t exist before. We are laughing at our hair styles, or lack there of, when perhaps we stressed over such a little thing before. People who colour their hair are now making fun of the new striping patterns that are emerging. I look like a sheep dog, with my long shaggy hair, but I’m embracing it and with apologies to my hairdresser, I don’t believe I’ll get it cut, even when I can.

People are also having in depth conversations with their Fitbit, microwave and other objects, they would normally ignore, while others have introduced themselves and have developed a personal relationship with their refrigerator.

I have never disliked dandelions, but I have really been embracing the brilliant yellow flower this spring, and have enjoyed watching the bumblebees flitter and flutter from one blossom to another. I’d normally be too engrossed in other things to pay much attention, but this slow down in life has been amazing.

I enjoy watching the flight of the hummingbirds, if one is able to follow, as they dive around the yard from one resting place to another, in between gulps of their sweet liquid. As I type, I’m listening to the symphony of rain as it comes down on the roof and flows down the gutter; rain that is so needed in these crinkly dry times. It is also washing the leaves as they spring forth on the white birch, and many maple trees. It is simply beautiful.

Oh COVID, you have opened our eyes to a world that was passing us by. You have opened our ears to sweet sounds we heard, but never listened to. You have opened our mouths to conversations we should have been having with our loved ones, but never had time to say. You have opened our noses to fragrances that have forever filled the air, but that we never smelled before. And you have opened our palate to tastes for the first time, as we prepare new and interesting foods. Thank you COVID.

I am not diminishing the affect you have had on society. And I am also not making light of the deaths you have caused, not in the least. One death would have been one too many, and you have caused thousands.

But I am a firm believer that, with everything bad that happened because of this virus, even more good will come forward. You might have us in time out right now but we are a resilient species and when we emerge, we will be stronger than ever. You do not consume me, COVID. You many dictate what I can and cannot do at this time, but no, you do not consume me.

In fact, there are days I don’t even think about you. Why? Because I am too busy enjoying the little things in life; bees, birds, nature, budding trees, flowers, family, friends checking in, rainy days, sunshine, music, knitting, creating, and so much more. How do you like that?

So, yes, COVID, you are a despicable. And you might think you are winning the war, but you are barely leading this battle at present; a battle in which we will overtake you eventually. We humans will win the war.

Yours in continued isolation,

Hughena MacDougall