It’s weird coming out of the bushes from a camping trip.
The noise, traffic and fresh laundry smelling individuals holding ice cream cones is always startling. It’s even more jarring during a pandemic.
Masks, hand sanitizer, and signs to keep apart almost immediatly greet you when returning to civilization.
When camping in a tent, sleeping under the stars and having a summit avacado on a poppyseed bagel, COVID-19 seems like a separate reality.
It’s hard to physically distance, after hiking through alder with a heavy pack up vertical slopes that appear to be a mile from the sun. It’s especially difficult when your adventure buddy pulls out a bad Honey Djon chip.
Yet, disease and illnesses are clearly evident in the backcountry as well in Western Canada.
There’s blister rust on whitebark pine, whirling disease in fish and lyme disease from ticks.
Entire forests in B.C. and Alberta are dying from pine beetle. Life in our back yards isn’t easy.
Avalanches scour slopes, plowing down trees that have taken hundreds of years to grow mere centimeters. Rivers flood, sweeping away squirrel middens and nests that have lasted for generations.
Landslides fill lakes, thereby changing an entire local ecosystem. Early frosts kill flowers, before they even had time to fruit.
The world is always shifting, dying and growing. Nothing ever stays the same, not even for a moment.
However, after every fire, flood and landslide, there’s opportunity for new life.
Burnt forest become a colouring book of flowers, new pine trees grow having needed fire to open its cones and dead trees provide new habitat for insects and wood peckers.
COVID-19 has and will continue to cause economies to collapse. Governments will fail and regimes will crumb.
Yet, when something falls. Another springs up to replace it or something new begins.
While the Spanish flu was devastating in killing 55,000 in Canada, it was also a significant event in the evolution of public health.
It resulted in the creation of the federal department of health in 1919, which established a partnership between the various levels of government and made public health a joint responsibility to which the state played a prominent role.
It will be interesting to see what grows from the ashes of COVID-19.
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