Pandemic pondering

Ontario’s COVID-19 model projections were sobering. The most surprising thing to me wasn’t that Ontarians have already managed to avert a staggering number of needless deaths through physical distancing and conscientious hand washing, nor that we must continue these measures to ensure that we and others don’t become ill and die.

The big surprise was that the projections were done to cover eighteen months through two years.

Optimistically, when I considered the pandemic I thought that there would almost certainly be a vaccine developed by January 2021. We would all get a shot and life would resume, albeit with quite a lot of effort put toward working to recover from the cost and measures that the pandemic had required to ensure our health and basic necessities.

By adding an extra year in the projection, the Ontario model has added a potential challenge. This time challenge started me thinking about the difference between solitude and isolation.

Past life experience has shown that reserves of stamina and the perseverance to see challenges through serves me well. I am familiar with solitude. Being an artist has required much more solitude than would suit many people, in order to consider and execute my work.

Today people can call and speak to others or be in touch with others by email to avoid isolation. Think of the good old days when a letter or person had to travel across the country by horse or across the ocean by ship. Could people even have known if there was a pandemic in those times?

We are all in the fortunate position of waiting on an advanced, hard working and cooperative global scientific community to do research and find a solution. We can stay apart until this happens in order to avoid preventable deaths, even if it takes more than a year.

In the mean time I’ll keep calling, emailing, drawing, painting, reading, planting things for the garden, listening to the news every now and then, watching movies and maybe even finally learn to play a song on the guitar.

If you are physically distancing with family or a loved one, please give them a big hug for those of us who will have to wait longer to hug someone we love.


About the author: Kim Hanewich is a practicing artist and writer who runs She grew up rurally on the north shore of Lake Ontario and has lived in the Madawaska Valley, where she raised her two sons, for the past 30 years.

photo Kim Y Hanewich

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