July 12, 2022

Article at respectnews.ca

It’s not just relief—it’s joy

It’s just like the olden days: people organizing outdoor events only have to worry about the weather.

It got tiresome over the past couple years, dealing with cancellations and restrictions. It got to the point where I wished I had a special button on my keyboard that would automatically type out the phrase “due to pandemic restrictions.”

Now I find myself repeating phrases like “back on again after two years,” and I don’t mind a bit.

We saw some activities resume last year, but anything that required advance planning was still an iffy bet. Many organizers chose to keep their powder dry until they could be more confident that they could actually run their events.

Wisely, as it turned out. The summer of 2021 turned into a disaster for our healthcare system as we prematurely poured back into our favourite activities and venues. And there is a serious need for caution even this year. The fall outlook for a new wave of infections is a genuine threat.

But if there’s a shared feeling among everybody enjoying music, sports, or other activities under the summer sun, it’s “we need this.”

I’ve seen it everywhere I’ve gone this spring. It’s not just the relief of being able to get out again, it’s the deeper appreciation of how much we loved the things we had enjoyed all along. As Joni Mitchell sang, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

A wet Canada Day didn’t dampen our spirits. Meanwhile the sun that shone on the Boscombe Hillbilly Jam, Cold Lake First Nations’ Treaty Days, the Stoney Lake rodeo, and the St Paul .303 British rifle match this past weekend was almost magical.

At press time, the outlook is also good for the Cold Lake Air Show next weekend.

I hate to say it, but it will be wise to keep a supply of masks handy for the next little while. For now though, it’s great to have things to enjoy and experiences to look forward to. And for the people who run community events, it’s so great to be looking at the weather forecast instead of the infection curve.