By Dara Mac, Prince Edward Island, Canada

As we make our final descent into darkness, I find myself waking up earlier. I turn on the daylight lamp, and it makes me laugh to watch the cats responding to it like sunlight! It’s the real deal! You’d never know that we are living in a Tiny House in rural PEI during the pandemic. But thank God we are, for many reasons.

PEI and Newfoundland opted out of the Atlantic bubble a few weeks ago when cases started to seriously rise in neighboring New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. As they continued to rise in those provinces, our Premier had extended that ban for another two weeks to December 21, but it was actually lifted last Friday.

Recently, over a weekend, a student at Charlottetown Rural High had tested positive for Covid-19. The response was to deep clean the school, test hundreds of contacts, and reopen on Monday. Curiously, no one else tested positive even on the second retesting; how the student became infected remains a mystery. Unless, of course, we have started to have community transmission on PEI, which might explain the three more positive tests for servers at fast food, Wendy’s, and A&W. Then, four more contacts of theirs, and all of a sudden, we’re in lockdown on December 7. The gyms were closed, four high schools in Charlottetown have switched to online learning, bars were closed, restaurants were take out only, and limits were placed on meetings and outings. And, of course, not spoken aloud: no live music! Things are slowly opening up again in the last few days.

In the government’s panic to get to the source of infection, island youth were called in to test. The response was overwhelming as the 20-29-year-olds in Charlottetown piled into their cars and in some cases, waited up to 7 hours to get Covid-19 testing. The PHO announced, “You don’t all have to show up on the same day”; then, a special request was made primarily to those experiencing symptoms and those living and working in close contact with others in that age group. Thousands of tests have come back negative (71,789) suggesting, that all this was a little over the top. To date, we have had 90 cases since the onset of the pandemic, with 17 active cases right now.
Nonetheless, this will have greater impacts on December holiday celebrations. It’s been years since our family has been together, and keeping a positive, present state of mind makes it manageable. We’ll get through this!

A generous tuna fisherman in North Lake, PEI donated two tuna freezers to the PEI government (he also offered two to New Brunswick). These freezers can house the vaccine at minus 80 degrees. Who would have thought that fishing and medicine would have found some common ground?

It doesn’t take looking around very far to see another who has much greater pain to bear. My dear yoga teacher suddenly lost her eldest son a few months ago. He had an undetected heart defect, which went undiagnosed until it quietly and suddenly took his young life. I remind myself of how fortunate I am that I can still hope and plan to see my beloved son sometime in the future!

I recently heard about tent city in my old hometown, Montreal. There had recently been a fire, one tent burnt down, but thankfully, no one was injured. Not long before, the blogger had saved a squirrel’s life. He made him a pet and would feed him in the cage every day. The night of the fire, he was awakened in the night by the little frantic squirrel in a cage beside his bed in his tent. He just barely escaped with his life and lost a few possessions in the fire.

Meanwhile, in Ottawa, my 91-year-old mom insists that things are going much better, which I’m sure helps to rationalize her activity. It was shocking to hear about her “lovely day” out, but I reminded myself that quality of life when you’re her age is number one. She took two buses to get to the St Laurent shopping center, spent hours there, and had lunch at the very busy food court. Apparently, a nice young man offered his seat because all the tables were filled with unmasked eaters! I remind myself that mom needs to feel like life is normal.

In the last few months before this most recent lockdown, I had increased my social activity. I enjoyed a meal out at the pub with the Zoom Drummer group while the live Trad session played music in the background. We shared a few laughs, ideas, and tips, and I always find it very inspiring. It makes life feel kind of normal.

I brought a pizza and a few canvases to a friend’s cottage out in Lakeside, and we shared a lovely afternoon of catching up and painting.

Every week or so, my friend Gerry and I get together to play some live music in my Tiny Home. He is a lovely singer and songwriter and has decades of recording experience, so he offers some very constructive, helpful feedback on my drumming, which I much appreciate. And it’s so fun to laugh and play!

The pandemic has really shone a light on my relationships, bringing some forward and leaving others in the darkness. What I have learned from my late, beautiful, big sister: Be with the ones that love you; walk away from those that bring you down. Material possessions and money are much less important than the substance that feeds our souls! Have faith in your higher power, and be prepared to be surprised with all that appears before you!

Be safe! Be your own best friend. Don’t scare yourself with ‘what ifs.’ Let’s not make our lives more difficult than they are. Rewrite your story any way you want to! Your body will heal past trauma and believe that the best you imagine actually happened!!

Stand tall. Stand strong. Don’t forget to dance in the wind. Sending love and light to each and every one!