It’s the seventh month of the pandemic. Thirty Mondays ago they closed Big White and we sat in fear of the unknown. We left our mountain home in shock; we packed up and went back to the valley. Big White emptied and the world stood still. It feels like seven months of Mondays since they first locked us down.
I have been one of the fortunate ones this summer. I was able to work outside and ride my motorcycle to go boating (and get paid!) I live in a wonderful valley that has been spared the full effect of our viral foe. Now the leaves have changed colour, my maple tree has transformed from green to gold and red as the days passed by. Summer’s warm embrace has been replaced by a brilliant display painted on nature’s canvas. Soon temperatures will continue to fall and winters chill will blanket us with a coating of white and grey.
Our winter paradise at Big White has already begun its transformation. A blanket of snow has covered the village and the slopes are being reconstructed by Mother Nature. Only a few short weeks ago people were riding on two wheels through the trees at breakneck speeds. Soon those same slopes will host people sliding at breakneck speeds through the trees in knee-deep in snow.
Nature is oblivious to the viral strands of RNA that have altered our existence. The mountains will remain long after we are dust and memories scattered in the powder snow. Ular, the snow god, has been sending his abundance upon the slopes. Many wait in excited anticipation for a ski season like no other: a ski season in the coronaverse.
In the valley, we remain in a state of seasonal stasis. I looked at the license plate on my bike and accepted the reality of the passing seasons. Back in March when I first insured my bike, it was after my season at Big White had come to a sudden end. Now, seven months later, my plate was about to expire, I had time for one last ride.
Sunshine and a shadow of warmth lit the day. The sky cleared and a bright optimism accompanied my feeling of energy as I bounced in the door. I grabbed my wife and offered to buy her dinner downtown. The only catch was I wanted to ride the bike one last time in 2020. Krista gave me a look of hopeful distrust and reluctantly agreed.
We mounted my iron steed and turned down the hill toward the highway. The sun had begun its rapid descent below the mountain, with it the temperature had descended as well. My wife pulled herself closer as we pulled onto the highway toward Kelowna. Icy freshness greeted us as I accelerated; I glanced at my temperature gauge on my machine and grimaced; 7 degrees Celsius. I was very glad my Honda ST1300 has a power windshield. Sheltered by a clear plastic screen the ride was almost comfortable, it was definitely exhilarating.
I leaned into the corner going down bridge hill onto the Bennett Bridge, I felt a sudden gust of wind. I looked to the north and saw the black sky ominously hovering over the lake. I had a sinking feeling inside: would this be another storm in a year of storm warnings? Riding on, we pulled up to Earls on Top and went inside. We sat at the window looking over the marina. Within minutes the storm clouds I had seen unleashed their fury upon the world outside. We sat in trepidation, not looking forward to our ride home in the downpour.
Armed with extra napkins from the restaurant, we walked down the stairs and out the door. We expected to be greeted by a wall of water falling from the sky, instead, the rains had ceased. I could not believe our fortune. We accepted the gift and rode home, spared from what had looked like an inevitable drenching.
I eased my bike homeward for the last time this year. Reflections of the year so far flew through my brain. I have sought shelter from many storms, rain, and viral ones as well. Now I felt optimistic, we avoided another potential first world tragedy.
I am hopeful that as the winter storms unleash upon our mountain home, we will be able to embrace those storms. I am optimistic we will thrive in the days, months, and seasons to come.