An autumn like no other

There are many descriptions of 2020, most of them reflecting how different it has been, and not in a good way. We’ve taken to referring to our daily reality as ‘the new norm’, resigned to the changes that seven months ago we thought would only be necessary for a few weeks.

But autumn has arrived, the COVID-19 pandemic is anything but over, and we’re moving back into activities anyway, adjusting our approach to accommodate ongoing government health guidelines.

In many ways, maneuvering through the months of self-isolation was an introvert’s dream. At the best of times I’m not a very social person, so staying home is a preferred option. Through the years my favourite activities have been ones that I do on my own — writing, photography, painting, reading, gardening, grooming or training a dog; you get the idea.

So, having settled quite firmly into my shuttered days, I’m finding the new reintegration process a little unsettling. In our province the number of coronavirus cases is accelerating again. I feel vulnerable in a crowd. Attend a meeting? Nope. Not yet. I’ll stick to Zooming. Go shopping? Not unless I absolutely have to, and then there’s certainly no browsing. I’ll hurry in, appropriately masked and keeping my distance, grab what I need and rush back out. Go to church? Only if I can sit by myself in the balcony. (Fortunately, I’m the novice videographer for our services, so I’m allotted the space I need.)

Fall is unquestionably my favourite season, and yet…and yet, this fall is like no other. The crisp air, changing colours, shorter days with evenings by the fireplace are all still here. But this time it’s hard to let go of summer and enjoy them. COVID-19 is partly to blame, but there’s more.

This fall a precious family member is very ill. We hope for a miracle but in its shadow we hang on to every small blessing — an hospital administration that allowed not one but two family members daily visitation over the past nine weeks; a joyous wedding in the hospital chapel we were able to ‘attend’ via Zoom; the goodness and generosity of so many people who have made possible a 2,000 km air ambulance flight home, and on Thanksgiving Day at that.

Autumn is bittersweet this year. But there is still much to love about it. My hubby’s sermon this morning was entitled ‘An Attitude of Gratitude‘, and we are reminded that remembering to thank God for even the smallest blessings can translate into a heart filled with gratitude.

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

~ ~ ~

4 thoughts on “An autumn like no other

  1. Darlene says:

    Blessings to you and your family, Carol.

  2. My whole life changed when I started waking up and immediately giving thanks for everything I could think of, from my eyes, to my bed, to my family, to friends like yourself, to my fingers, to my internet, to the food in my cupboards, to the joy in my heart. Autumn reminds me of that. Today is the 29th anniversary of our eldest son’s Passover. I am most thankful for his presence in our lives for the short time he was here. I’m reminded of how fortunate I’ve been to have loved him. Thanks for a beautiful post, Carol.

    • Carol says:

      It was Ann Voskamp’s “1000 Gifts” that first got me started journalling about joys, naming three every day. And then the blog of Sara Frankl (Gitzen Girl) with her ‘choose Joy’ attitude reminded me that it was a moment by moment choice to do so. A heart filled with gratitude makes it so much easier to face life’s challenges. It will be 24 years in December since our daughter’s death. I think of your losses and know you understand how bittersweet the memories are.

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