These are the darkest days of winter. And this morning, pondering the imperceptible lengthening of the daylight that began this week and reading about the pandemic reaching Antarctica, I suddenly realized that the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, is a Northern Hemisphere event. I should have known that by now. I remember my Dad telling me how the Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year and I think I just assumed that this applied to everybody in the world.
The column I wrote on Day 279 is now out of date, which is what we’ve come to expect with COVID. A new faster-spreading strain of coronavirus was identified in England on Dec. 13, 2020. So the relaxation of lockdown rules for Christmas has been reversed. As Prime Minister Boris Johnson said today, “We cannot continue with Christmas as planned.”
Maybe if the pandemic had started in October we would have been more motivated to distance over the coming holidays. Inspired to flatten the curve, we might have resolved to stay isolated over Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. Over the last nine months we’ve heard repeated warnings not to socialize over spring break, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Halloween. Remember the saying about the futility of repeating the same thing and expecting different results?
Exchanging letters at holiday time has always meant a lot to me. Perhaps this year more than most, because of the extreme isolation many of us are going through during the pandemic. I want to hear from people. Actually, I want to see people. And I will be doing some of that, but let’s leave that thought for the moment and go straight to the letter. You can’t get more socially distanced than this.
Yesterday they were turning off the lights behind us as we walked out the hotel door. Just like Friday March 13th when they were cancelling flights as we left Portugal. Déjà vu, as they say, all over again.
Thursday, December 3, 2020 How could we know back in August that this would be such a good time to Continue reading
Two things I love to do: Sing and travel. There are limits on both this year. Travel is “fraught” as they say. (I’ve noticed the news media calls everything fraught this year, so I thought I’d join in.)