I live with earworms. Most (maybe all) days, there is a soundtrack to my day. Lately, I seem to enjoy part of the day with “Falling Leaves,” for obvious reasons. My earworms insist on specific artists for each song. Part of the time “Falling Leaves” will be by the Ray Conniff Singers but there’s a particular part of the song that is always sung by Nat King Cole.
I watched The Flower Drum Song last night so “I Enjoy Being A Girl” was playing here and there.
And just before I sat down to write this post, my high school fight song played a few rounds.
I am amused that the songs are often from my early life. And also that I’m never sure of all the words so only a few lines are complete most times. My brain spends a lot of time in the background trying to work out the vague lyrics from the rest of the song.
Clearly, Covid is getting to me – perhaps too much time alone?
The best part of today was seeing a half dozen TPW’s walking on the lake front. You all looked fit and hearty! I am hoping to be able to get back at it in November. Oh Dear! There’s Aerosmith with “Walk This Way.”
Another beautiful Saturday: warm, sunny, and perfect for walking and enjoying the colours of autumn. Or was it? We awoke to news of very large numbers of COVID-19 cases in our city and warnings that we should stay out of harm’s way. Is it still safe to walk with up to 25 people so long as we are outdoors and staying at least two meters apart? Some of us think so and some of us are not sure. Some of us, for our own reasons, are concerned that we are risking our health and some of us fear we may be risking the health of others. Others believe our fear is overblown and that for everyone’s mental health, we should simply go about our business in ways that are cautious but not panic-stricken.
I think I may believe all the above – but at different times and in different places. And because it is Thanksgiving, a feast our family has not chosen to celebrate this year, I would like to express my deep and abiding thanks to all of the TPW walkers who accept everyone’s feelings and decisions on what is the right choice. No one is made to feel afraid or ashamed by the choices they have made to stay at home, to walk alone, in small groups, or all together. As my friend Robert Priest has said. “We are one another’s angels.”
September! It is seen by many as a start of the new year with school and lovely Fall harvests. For others it is the end of Summer and approaching Autumn, followed by Winter. For me September is my birth month and being a bit of a nerd, it was the excitement of a new school year.
This year is different for all of us. Many of us have adapted to changes by signing up and training for virtual fall races. Training has been quiet and introspective. I am doing weight and strength training online, as well as Zumba classes. Zooming (or something similar) has become the way of reaching out.
As we move forward our community of walkers have not slowed down. We continue to connect and encourage others to reach for their goals whatever they may be. We can all give thanks for our friendships and support.
I don’t know if everyone is feeling as confused as I am these days. I need to decide how to feel each morning when I get up. Do I feel happy because a family member got out of hospital or, do I feel upset because I couldn’t be with them when they were brought into emergency? Does my good friend feel happy because she has a new grandchild? Or does she feel sad because she could not be with her daughter when the child was born?
Are we happy because these late summer mornings are so fresh and lovely or, are we sad because this very strange summer is coming to and end? Are we delighted to see our energetic and smiling friends or, are we sad because we can’t get up close for a hug? We are happy to be healthy and afraid that we or our friends and family members may not stay that way. We want to be safe and we want to forget we are living in a pandemic. There are many more questions than answers. Are we missing out? Should we be grateful for our blessings and privileges? I think the answer to these and many more questions is yes. We all need permission to feel many emotions all at once. We are kind to one another. Let’s remember to be kind to ourselves as well.
I don’t know about everyone else, but I have become obsessed and overwhelmed by numbers lately.
I regularly look at the numbers of cases, positive tests and deaths by COVID-19. Every morning I look at the e-coli count at all the Toronto beaches. (Can I find a safe place to swim today?) I look at the water temperature at various beaches (yes, I can swim at 11 degrees); the air temperature; the humidex; the percentage likelihood of thunderstorms; the numbers of people permitted in a “bubble;” the number of people who can gather in a socially distanced group; the number of layers a fabric mask should have; how much gas is left in the car; how many people are in the queue for the local shop; how many kids will be permitted in a classroom after Labour Day; unemployment numbers; etc., etc.
It is exhausting. Some call it doom-scrolling. Some call it being reasonably careful. Whatever it is called, I think it’s time for a break from numbers. Today, I am going to focus on colours. I will look in my garden at the blooming roses, the bright butterflies, and, (why not) the lovely fabrics of people’s masks. There is a bright side!
A member of my family passed this week. The loss was sad. But as I dealt with my feelings, I realized that I am also mourning the world before Covid. Looking for solace, I came across the following.and found it cheering. I have not been able to track its source. It was apparently written by a patient in palliative care. I hope you don’t mind me sharing it.
“Although I love flowers very much, I won’t see them when I’m gone. So in lieu of flowers: Buy a book of poetry written by someone still alive, sit outside with a cup of tea, a glass of wine, and read it out loud, by yourself or to someone, or silently.
Spend some time with a single flower. A rose maybe. Smell it, touch the petals.
Really look at it.
Drink a nice bottle of wine with someone you love.
Or, Champagne. And think of what John Maynard Keynes said, “My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne.” Or what Dom Perignon said when he first tasted the stuff: “Come quickly! I am tasting stars!”
Take out a paint set and lay down some colours.
Watch birds. Common sparrows are fine. Pigeons, too. Geese are nice. Robins.
In lieu of flowers, walk in the trees and watch the light fall into it. Eat an apple, a really nice big one. I hope it’s crisp.
Have a long soak in the bathtub with candles, maybe some rose petals.
Sit on the front stoop and watch the clouds. Have a dish of strawberry ice cream in my name.
If it’s winter, have a cup of hot chocolate outside for me. If it’s summer, a big glass of ice water.
If it’s autumn, collect some leaves and press them in a book you love. I’d like that.
Sit and look out a window and write down what you see. Write some other things down.
In lieu of flowers,
I would wish for you to flower.
I would wish for you to blossom, to open, to be beautiful.”
I confess that I feel nervous. This COVID-19 virus has got me worried. I know the numbers are down in Ontario, but all it takes is one careless person to infect a group of people who believe that they are being careful ENOUGH. However, I have discovered that seeing my wonderful TPW friends is more than worth the risk. What we can offer to one another in just a simple walk is beyond measure. This is some of the best health care we have. We humans do not do well in isolation.
While we cannot hug one another, we seem to have found the verbal form of hugs that can carry us through. Some of us were afraid that the group might dissolve under the stresses of the virus and social isolation, but that has not happened. In fact, I think each of us has taken special delight in seeing that face we haven’t seen in months or hearing the familiar voice that says such comforting words.
Today, we walked in the rain and it was wonderful. Just like the rain on the dry ground, our friends nourish and refresh us, and I am so very grateful
This was to have been the weekend of the Waterfront 10k. I’m really aware of how much slower I am than I would want to be doing that race. My walk this Saturday morning was to and from my daughter’s house for a total of about 9 k. It took me an hour to get there; you do the math! Mitigating circumstances:
- I was wearing a mask and on the lookout for people
- It is uphill the whole way
- I kept having to step off the sidewalk to give people 2 metres.
Still, it’s clear that I will have some serious work to do to get back into any kind of race time. And when will that be?
Some good signs on the horizon.
- 10 Covid vacines are being tested on humans right now
- The Canadian government has a tracking app ready for deployment
- Rates are down. Distancing is working.
Still, I’m not confident there will be a Waterfront race next year. Maybe when I’m 74!
I confess that I did not walk today. The weather was beautiful and cool. The sun was shining, in fact it was a perfect day — for a paddle on the Humber River. Quite a few people in kayaks, on paddleboards, and various sort of quiet watercraft were out dodging geese, swans, egrets, and cormorants. Somehow these birds seem more benign in the water than they do on walking trails or beaches. I don’t even find the red winged blackbirds as threatening when I am on the water. Perhaps that is because I have only been dive-bombed by them when walking.
Here is another benefit: If everyone is using paddles or oars, we naturally keep the proper distance apart, even when greeting one another and chatting about the BEAUTIFUL canoe that my husband made. Like the hockey stick and the length of three Canada geese, the canoe paddle is another great Canadian measure for physical distancing while engaging in safe outdoor activities this summer. And may well all stay safe and well.