(and good riddance)
Has there ever in recent memory been a year that we will be so collectively happy to boot out the door?
Setting aside the horror show of American politics – from which, like watching a slow motion car crash, many of us have been unable to avert our eyes – the Covid-19 pandemic has dominated every corner of our daily lives, including, literally, the air we breathe.
But as this soul-trying year finally grinds to a close, even amid the despair of a second wave, there are plenty of signs to suggest we can take heart as we look to the future.
As I write, there is positive news that a coronavirus vaccine could be widely available as early as next spring. So that would be good. But more important is the evidence that as much as the pandemic has sown hardship, discontent and death, it may also prove a turning point, a reminder in a divided world of our collective humanity, and the things we value most about life on our common planet.
With some tragic exceptions, here in this corner of the world, we have so far escaped the worst of the pandemic’s ravages. Instead, what we have witnessed is the best of our community – the sheer goodness, decency and generosity that truly underpin our survival as a social species.
In much of this winter issue, we look back on a year filled with uncertainty to record the one thing that remained dependable – our ability to pull together and help each other through trying times.
Our annual salute to Local Heroes focuses on the small army of people who were suddenly thrust into the role of essential workers, or to put it another way, who the rest of us suddenly realized were essential. Our heroes this year also include a nod to the young activists who responded to another of this year’s world-shifting events and organized Black Lives Matter marches in Orangeville and Shelburne. On the same topic elsewhere in the issue, Tralee Pearce hosts a roundtable discussion with members of Shelburne’s antiracism task force who tabled their recommendations in October.
As always our winter issue includes a roundup of new books and music by local authors and, especially poignantly this year, musicians, who are unlikely to enjoy the immediacy of performing for a live audience for some months yet.
So, farewell, 2020. You battered us, but we’re not beaten.