Rosemary Ganley The Peterborough Examiner January 2, 2022
One has to operate on many levels these days. There are the smiles we muster for children as we try to protect them from the worst threats, and foster their joy in Christmas. There’s the task of trying not to complain, that demeanor we take on for public appearances, such as those times in the pharmacy getting help, or skating with seniors at the Evinrude (just can’t call it “Healthy Planet” yet).
There’s our ebbing sympathy for anti-vaxxers, the desire to go about our lives calmly even as other troubling news, usually considered normal, such as sickness, bereavement, accidents, and postponements eat away at our composure.
I was unduly rattled at the cancellation of the junior hockey tournament in Alberta. Wanted to get a good look at 16-year-old phenomenon Connor Bedard. Then I inadvertently threw out a crucial part of a coffee maker. Small stress writ large.
For many, there is anger at political leaders, particularly Premier Doug Ford in Ontario and Premier Jason Kenney in Alberta, for slow, dense and unsympathetic responses to major health and education concerns. One has to remember that the provinces have two main portfolios: health and education. I would say that in Ontario, at the policy-making level, the premier, health minister and education minister have clearly messed up.
Yet the situation has been rescued from disaster by the heroic work of loyal and competent public servants in the medical and education fields, who have toiled now for two years. And by thousands of cheerful volunteers.
There are many instances of extra kindness and patience, which I personally have been the recipient of. The senior man who saw me wobble at my skating, and tactfully brought out one of those homemade tripods for support. For a Kirkland Laker!
There was the occasion extricating myself from the parking lot near Peterborough Clinic. I put in the toonie and the card. No response. Tried again. Conscious of holding up the line, I pressed the emergency button. Must have taken my eye off the barrier because in that time a nice woman from the car behind gently tapped on my window. “The barrier is up,” she smiled.
One looks to friends, to true leaders, and to poets. That leprechaun of an Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, has left many words of hard-earned wisdom. He headed the South African Truth and Reconciliation commission in 1992, and heard the depths of human suffering. Yet he has said, “Evil doesn’t have the last word. Joy and laughter, caring and compassion, these are what prevail in the end.”
Kurt Vonnegut, the celebrated German novelist, is said to have written, “Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate, or the bitterness steal your sweetness. You still believe the world to be a beautiful place.”
In this January cold, facing a fifth wave, that’s a big challenge. Time to read Mary Oliver’s “On Winter’s Margin.” Or any favourite music or film.
Looking ahead, I’m invited to a synchronous “Yoga with Adriene” everyday in January from home, all motivated by Colleen Crawley. We’ll be connected on our mats.
I’m going to stage a Zoom Book Launch of my 2021 collection of Examiner columns called “Gleanings” on January 23. Working to get well-known, readers. All welcome.
Douro-Dummer’s Betsy McGregor was named to the Order of Canada for her work encouraging young women leaders. An American friend/admirer of Canada, sent me a hilarious set of “Only in Canada” pictures.
One boomerangs from positive to dark feelings within a few minutes. It helped to be named Best Grandmother in the World, by eight-year-old Ava in Newmarket. I’m sure I share that with hundreds of others in Peterborough.
I’ll mention next week’s topic now, in case I forget. It will look at a wider cultural analysis of COVID-19 by Yale sociologist Nick Christakos. Has our humanity been reshaped?
"Gleanings" is Rosemary Ganley's new book. You can purchase directly from the author at firstname.lastname@example.org or from >Amazon<