Until two weeks ago, this summer wasn’t looking much different from last year’s. We continued with all the required pandemic precautions, stayed home, and obeyed our public health authority’s admonition to “be calm, be kind and be safe.” Then, on July 1 the provincial government moved us into ‘stage 3’ of its gradual restart program. Strangely, while restrictions eased for most businesses and gatherings, they were totally removed for churches, leaving us free to return to ‘normal’ worship services.
I have to be honest. While most people are probably rejoicing in the new freedom, I’m finding it somewhat unnerving. One day precautions are deemed necessary; the next day they aren’t. After fifteen months of sheltering in place, sticking my head out of the fox hole feels a little like I’m inviting a sniping virus to take a shot at it. It hasn’t helped that Pfizer is now suggesting that immunity begins waning six months after the initial double-shot vaccination and the company is developing a booster which will target the Delta variant.
My introverted self is content as a homebody. I just might hunker down for a while longer.
In other news…
The tiny cabin we built on three acres alongside what was then my parents’ Cariboo property will be fifty years old this summer. Initially it was a plywood shell, built only because the province required ‘an habitable dwelling’ be added when we first acquired the land. Through the years its 240 sq. ft. have expanded to 480 sq. ft. and used siding now covers the plywood.
In keeping with the exterior, except for a small propane refrigerator, everything inside from flooring to windows, including furniture, stoves, countertops and doors is second-hand, scrounged from various sources. It’s definitely rustic living — little more than “camping with a roof”, without electricity, plumbing or cell service — but it holds five generations of happy family memories.
We’d like to gather there this summer to celebrate its fifty year milestone but right now it’s looking iffy. Last year the pandemic restricted our travel. The year before, a forest fire cut our time short when we suddenly had to evacuate. The year before that, more wildfires closed the area’s roads and woods so there was no access. This year another wildfire has access roads under an evacuation ‘alert’. While the actual fire isn’t a threat to our cabin, if the alert is raised to an ‘order’, travel to and from will be impossible. It’s frustrating!
In light of the recent wildfire that devastated the entire village of Lytton, BC last week, and losses caused by other wildfires around south-central BC, my grumbling is insensitive. But, but….
The heat this summer has been record-breaking. Not only did the aforementioned village of Lytton break the all time Canadian record, not once but three days in a row (49.6 C.), the temperature in our usually balmy corner of the province also broke records. It was 40.7 C. here, the hottest I’ve ever experienced. I hid indoors with the air-conditioner.
People died of heat stroke. In the fields, berries actually baked on their vines, many farmers’ crops were decimated, shrubs shrivelled. The only plant here that seems to have enjoyed the heat wave is our Clematis (Jackmanii). It has climbed its trellis and exploded over nearby shrubs and even the deck. I think I’ve watered it once this year. (We live with a well, so except for watering the newest plants, usually only the annuals in deck tubs, we don’t waste water.)
It’s barely summer and I’m already wishing for autumn.
How are things where you are?