And now the race to Christmas! Thanksgiving is behind us and I hope that each of yours provided some measure of family and happiness, despite the pandemic. I will say that, from my own tiny perspective on the world, from what I saw on social media this was a fairly normal holiday for a great number of folks. I think many gatherings were scaled back, but gatherings none the less. I saw a lot of photos of good sized families sitting together, despite the admonishment to limit it to immediate household. And I can’t say that I blame them. We went to my son and daughter-in-law’s house to celebrate with them and the grandkids. Not a big gathering but more than just my wife and I at home alone as the governor wanted.
Christmas will be much the same I expect, with more pressure from the governor to not see family. And we shall ignore that request once again to see my daughter and my son and his family on Christmas day. Because this year, more than ever, we all need each other. This has been a harsh year; isolating and stressful and we all need to comfort of family and the peace and joy of Christmas more than ever.
It is still November, by a day as of this writing, but over the last couple of days I have seen more Christmas light displays than I think I recall ever seeing. And it is still not even December yet! I wrote of it in my last post – people are desperately reaching for that warm glow of Christmas joy more than ever. We juts got back from buying some Christmas wreathes for the house and the saleslady said that the owner has been working nearly to midnight every night just making wreathes – they are that busy! A sign of how tired and fed up people are from this pandemic, anxiously looking for the embrace of Christmas and the hope a better New Year.
And indeed that will come – not sure if it’ll be early, mid, or late in the year, but the vaccine will come, this will pass, and life will continue. I’ve written a lot about my dry frog pond this year. Within weeks of digging it the drought sucked the groundwater level below pond-bottom level and it’s been dry ever since. But as I kept writing, it will come back. The rains always come and the water level always comes back up. And sure enough, the rains have been coming more and more often and this week, lo and behold I found water in the pond! Not a lot, the deepest area is a hole a little over a foot in diameter that I dug a few month ago trying to probe how deep the water level was. I went down approximately another 2’ below the bottom of the pond and never hit water. I left the hole as I knew it would fill first as the water level rose and would provide me an indicator. And it worked! And after the next rain, the whole bottom of the pond was full of water, probably ten inches deep. And today’s forecast is for more heavy rain so I expect we could reach a quarter full by tomorrow.
On top of now having water for four or five days now, I also have a resident. Oddly enough, surprisingly enough, a frog has moved in. I was walking by the pond and noticed the water moving ever so slightly, as if something had just jumped in. I attributed it to an acorn falling or a bird dropping something, but I was suspicious. I went back a while later but this time I was quiet and snuck up on it and this time I got to see the leap and slight splash of a frog diving into the water and leaving the ripples I had seen the first time. I’ve seen it a number of times since as well. It is a small frog, but he has taken my pond up as his (her?) winter residence and that… is very cool!
I knew the pond would refill and I knew that life would flock to it – it is what nature does – I just did not know when that would happen. And therein is the lesson of life for today: you can count on many things in life as certainties, but you cannot predict when they’ll actually occur. I know this pandemic will end, but I cannot predict when.
Along those lines, I recently read a passage by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the Sherlock Holmes tale “The Sign of Four: “… while the individual man is an insoluble puzzle, in the aggregate he becomes a mathematical certainty.” The solution to the pandemic is now clear and simple – just wear a mask. It is proven to be the single most highly effective means of staying healthy. I sort of mocked the idea of wearing a mask months ago when the advice was proffered by CDC and WHO but I wore one, a bandana actually, but I wore it faithfully. And I continue to do so.
There is an ever-growing mass of data supporting the efficacy of wearing a mask. There was a case of two hair stylists who turned out to have the virus after having seen 140 customers but thanks to them wearing masks, not a single customer was infected. In another documented case, a couple infected with the virus (unbeknownst to them) traveled on an airplane and not a single person of the 350 people on the plane became infected – all wore masks. They work.
But now consider how many times you have seen people not wearing a mask. It may not be common, but you do see it, too often. Because it easy to convince the masses that wearing a mask is the right and smart thing to do, but you can never predict whether the guy parking his car to next to yours in the parking lot is going to put a mask on or not as he heads into the store. Remarkable!
The forecast for heavy rain was somewhat wrong – we got torrential rain, monsoon-like rain – well over 3” of rain fell here. And the frog pond? It is just about full… just a matter of time. Stay well dear reader!!