muse rediscovered? at what cost?

As it should be abundantly clear if you’ve followed my posting history even slightly, I’ve only managed to write periodically as I have been challenged in catching up with the ever elusive muse over the past few months.  I’ve not yet fallen back into the reasonable comfort and drive I felt last October when I started the blog with the goal of trying to find time to write, and post two to three times a week. 

That goal might have been a bit overly optimistic for me given I’m still working to rediscover my lost art of more than a couple decades.  It appears I’ve yet to establish a process to revisit the muse frequently enough to inspire sufficient content generation, but have also lacked the focus and drive to push the few ideas further along the path to something more shareable than what has been captured in notebooks, post it notes, mind maps, or audio recordings.  There will be more on this topic that I will share in time, maybe.  I must acknowledge there’s a voice in the back of my head, questioning, somewhat sarcastically, if I ever will. 

the truth hurts

High levels of pandemic related exhaustion left me feeling pretty drained of the energy to dedicate to much else beyond my workplace or the very welcome changes involving my volunteer endeavours.  A further distraction came this summer with a major change to the household coming in the form of the addition of a young adult joining Bae and I under our roof as she commences her post secondary education.  This has provided me with a very welcome and new experience (not just because change up to the routine of continued seclusion). The addition of an impressionable young mind filled with the excitement in discovering her life and new post-high school world is something requiring some adjustments by the household, let alone my highly independent lifestyle. I hope this experience will be one that will be very positive and will provide lasting benefits to all in a truly impactful and meaningful way.  

With this new change to my reality progressing well, and having returned to work after a lengthy break to recharge my batteries (with the time spent focusing on just about anything apart from work and focused on more than a few projects that have accumulated over the course of eighteen months since the pandemic started to assert it’s grip on our lives), I think I’m now ready to start prioritizing a few things intended just for myself again, and that includes getting back to finding and honing my art in writing.

I’ll going to start this latest attempt at writing with a post with a post that will provide a bit of a pandemic update. I will apologize in advance if you stumbled on hCmmh and thought the blog was going to help you escape from the ongoing reality that we face, but as I suspect the theme will be omnipresent for the foreseeable future; I do hope to make it make its presence smaller as time progresses and that reality changes. In the interim, perhaps a different perspective from your own will suffice in providing a moment’s escape. If you’re a new reader, or simply need a reminder given how long it has been since I’ve written regularly, check out this post for the concept behind the blog.  That all being said, please bear with me as I share some of the latest COVID developments in my small corner of the globe.

was it exactly that? did we just open for the summer, or forever?

There was a time early this summer where it felt very much as though the worst of the pandemic was behind us, that life was returning to normalcy, and as a result I could feel the heat turning up (see the Boil) which served as reminder that if I didn’t keep focused on the lessons learned in the first year of the pandemic, that those hard learned lessons might have been all for naught.

Evidence that the pandemic hasn’t made itself scarce in the slightest came with the surge of a fourth wave in August, with the Delta variant continuing to be the majority of our cases.  The ‘Open for Summer‘ / ‘Best Summer Ever‘ approach taken by the Alberta government has now been reported to have made decisions based upon faulty data modelling.  The bad data, combined this with the lowest uptake on vaccinations in the country, has cost Albertans a return to a public masking mandate as of September 4th, with renewed advice to limit in-person contacts, including a recommendation to unvaccinated individuals that they limit indoor gathers to close contact to two cohort families of up to ten individuals.  Plans to scrap contact tracing and the reporting of outbreaks have been delayed, vice being entirely scrapped as originally planned and communicated by the government as it prepared to transition to endemic footing. 

Not having to legally isolate due to a close contact has meant a return of missed freedoms, and I am happy to see that businesses (particularly restaurants and movie theatres) can operate without capacity limits, along with the return of fans to sporting events. These benefits to society appear to have been paid for largely by those who stood up to do their civic duty to protect themselves and the community by getting their vaccination jabs as early as possible.  Adding a bit of salt to the wound caused by a return of a masking mandate was the knowledge that the 70ish% of eligible Albertans who did their duty to vaccinate would not receive the $100 incentive now being given awarded to those who dragged their feet in receiving their jabs (while dragging the rest of the province’s population to a return some peak pandemic restrictions).  This comes as a big ‘eff-you‘ to those who stood up to quickly vaccinate, and seems also to reaffirm that our government is further pandering to a minority of Albertans, especially when the masking mandate that resumed on September 4 does not include restrictions that they be worn in places of worship, schools, or performance activities (including rodeos).  These privileges were earned by those who stood up to be responsible to each other.  The Alberta government is absolving itself of its leadership responsibility by leaving it to business owners and municipalities to determine their own restrictions, while it speaks out of both side of its proverbial mouth by stating it will not create a vaccination passport, and signaling that it will create a printable document with a QR code to assist those that wish to share their vaccination status with others.  If you’re confused, I can understand why, as we are being told that this is not a vaccination passport.  Oh, as an FYI, I’ve seen the Manitoban vaccination passport and it contains a very similar QR code and is utilized the same way proposed by the Alberta government (so, potato, potato by another name).

The only award going to those who stepped up and did their duty is intrinsic, which ultimately should be satisfaction enough, however should it not prove enough, I hope the appropriate award for the bitterness felt will be delivered by party members when the UPC party when it conducts a leadership review; failing that, I hope it will be delivered by conscientious Albertans when it comes time visit the polls to elect the next provincial government.

Maybe it’s the caffeine I consumed this morning, or maybe it’s the continued news of over 1000 new daily cases giving me the muse to write this, but I suspect it’s more likely the endless stories in the media of exhausted healthcare workers being re-assigned to look after the now 686 hospitalized patients, and 169 in an ICU (as of Friday, the highest levels since May).  With approximately 85% of these folks being just partially, or completely unvaccinated, our health system is struggling under the weight of patient counts far greater than the fewer than 250 hospitalizations that allowed us to open up in time for Canada Day and the ‘Greatest Summer Ever‘.   So called ‘elective’ procedures (a small example being the repair of bone and joint injuries) have been cancelled in order to ensure there are sufficient resources to care for those hospitalized due to COVID. 

I hope you were able to make sure that your summer lived up to the bill we’re now paying; what remains unanswered, is how much longer we’re going to be continuing to pay that debt, and ultimately left waiting to see what the final cost will be to us, individually and collectively.

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