May 19

Published by Victor Barr on

Today was a road trip day. I attended a morning meeting on Zoom. It worked but is not the same as face to face connection. My meeting wrapped up, I loaded up and drove to Kamloops. The Coquihala connector is an easy drive over the mountains when the weather is good. Except for one torrential downpour, the weather was very cooperative.

I love driving, it gives me time to think, to reflect. These days it gives me time to create. I drove the asphalt ribbon that carried me to the mountain tops. I felt inspired by the vast sky overhead. Musical therapy filled the cab of the truck with an energy that can only be created by the feel and vibration of solid hard-driving rock and roll music. There is a Led Zeppelin station on Siruis/xm radio and I found myself returning to the music of my youth. I will never outgrow Led Zeppelin and I will never outgrow rock and roll. I enjoyed the therapeutic release I experienced when I heard amazing songs. Songs like, Since I’ve Been Loving You, or the rhythmic thunder of Dazed and Confused, move my very soul.

Under two hours of hard-driving rock and roll gets me to my destination with buoyed spirits. I arrived at another empty hospital. Kamloops hospital is much like Kelowna and Vernon. Prepared for the worst – they have decided the worst has come and gone. Now it’s time to get back to work, back to helping people who have waited two months or more for surgery they really need. Our health care system and its workers have done a great job. Now they need the freedom and ability to do more. It will take a long time to catch up on the backlog of people waiting for procedures.

I was only delivering some anchors and some paperwork so my stay in Kamloops was brief. The worst thing that covid has done to my anchor job is the fact no one wants to see a salesperson at their door. In the past I would have gone around Kamloops and tried to see people and connect with them. Now its drop and go.

My return drive was much like the one in the morning, cranked up rock and roll. This time I stopped for a break at the turn off to the connector. I have stopped at this spot on the road many times over the years. This was the first time that I went for a walk in the woods.

The smell of fresh rain in the trees caressed my senses and I was drawn deeper down the pathway. I had no idea that there was a network of bike trails right beside the connection of these two main arteries of commerce in the middle of BC. I wandered down the path enjoying the fragrance and the sights of the flowers blooming in the forest.

I rounded a bend and came upon a sign that has sat there for thirty years. In big bold letters was the word PLANTING. Planting of seedlings in BC (1990). The sign then lists the number of trees planted as of 1990, 295 000 000 province-wide, and 35 000 000 in Merritt alone. I was surprised and amazed to discover this bit of information in the middle of my walk in the woods. Woods that had been planted thirty years prior to my walk. It made me appreciate the passage of time. Our world has a much longer plan than the mere months we have been in this new state of coronaverse. When I returned to my truck I felt refreshed and recharged from my walk in the woods. I had a new appreciation of the time it has taken this forest to grow. Breathing in the aroma of life I jumped back into my truck and drove off.

When I rounded the last corners of the Coquihala connector I could see my mountain home of Big White glowing in the distance. I felt a strong desire to see a friend and go sit on a patio for a beer. I phoned my good buddy and fishing compatriot, I asked him to join me for a bevy in the sun. Kelly O’Bryans was open again after almost two months.

We were welcomed at the door of our neighbourhood pub with the usual questions. They established we had not been sick or traveled in the previous fourteen days. The man at the door took down my name and phone number and we sat down in the sunshine on the patio. It felt good to be connecting again over a cold beer. It felt somehow different being served the beer than sitting on our own deck. When the bill came we were reminded how much money we had been saving sitting on our own deck. It is the price we pay for the convenience and connection.

Other tables on the patio were filled with people hanging out enjoying each other’s company. It was almost as if nothing had changed in the previous two months. Except for the signs, social distance did not seem to be very much in effect.

One table by the door paid their tab and a gentleman got up to leave. What I saw next gave me feelings I had a hard time with. The guy stood up and very publicly, intentionally hugged his friend goodbye. My emotions were mixed and I felt upset. What would have been perfectly normal mere months ago felt almost offensive? It was as if he was thumbing his nose at all the restrictions that have been placed on us. The normalcy of the moment, replaced by an unease. A slight prick of fear inside. Why did we go through all we have to then have people hug? Was I over-reacting? It was only a hug between friends.

We finished our meals and our beers and reveled in the connection we felt. Despite my concerns, my relief at being able to do something as simple as have dinner on a patio gave me hope. I hope that we don’t let down our guard too much. I hope we can continue to return to a place where we feel safe being among our fellow man (and woman). I think we are going in the right direction. I believe we are on our way to better days.

Like those trees in the forest that were planted all those years ago, time will be the judge. Time will watch our seedlings grow. Our world will recover and grow stronger for the seeds we plant today.

Categories: Daily Journal


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