Feeling the icy grip of winter

In only one week, most of the leaves have fallen to the forest floor. The bright yellows, oranges and reds have again disappeared from our landscapes. The sun does not arrive above the horizon until almost eight in the morning and disappears shortly after 6:30 in the evening. We are entering into the period of darkness across Canada.
We are beginning our annual hibernation, remaining indoors for longer periods of the week. The walkway along the river front on these cold frosty mornings is almost completely empty of exercisers. Golfers have packed up their clubs for another season. Traditional activities of attending high-school sports by parents is now on hold. It is hard to imagine being in the stands to watch the Lakers. The social aspect of meeting friends in the arenas across the district while our kids scrimmage on the ice may not happen.
Marinas have almost entirely emptied. Fishing gear has been stored waiting for the next season. Hunters are filling their freezers with deer and moose and soon their outdoor activities will be finished. We’ll wait for the snow to come; the lakes to freeze and trails be groomed so that we can once again be outdoors, well separated.
With the COVID virus expanding in all provinces, we already see new directions by health units across provinces to tighten up activities. Casual dining experiences that we all took for granted, today are much more limited and become special occasions as we meet with friends and relatives. The numbers around the table are greatly reduced as we learned over the Thanksgiving weekend. It is the new normal and will likely remain that way for several quarters.
We are both in a state of darkness and a state of hope. The darkness is our fear of COVID expanding across the district impacting more families. The hope is that we as a district will continue to follow health unit directions of wearing masks and social distancing and remaining isolated from each other. District residents have taken to heart the message and our cases of the virus remain limited. Our hope is that we will continue our civic responsibilities to protect each other. Just as our daylight will decline for two months and we won’t see a glimmer of more daylight for almost 90 days does not limit our opportunities to protect each other and our businesses.
It may be easier to shop on-line, but our local retailers and service providers need each of us to make purchases from them. It is a civic duty to keep restaurants, hairstylists and businesses operating through this pandemic. It protects jobs and our tax base. We may pay a few dollars more for an item, but in the end supporting workers in Fort Frances is a civic responsibility.
Our hope is that as spring rounds the corner, we will all be safe and the potential for a vaccine will be here.
Stay safe and stay healthy!