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Voices ᐋ ᐄᔮᔨᐧᒫᓂᐧᐃᒡ

Spring blizzards

BY Sonny Orr Jun 5, 2021

We thought spring was here, but as I write these notes, there is a blizzard blowing to remind us that winter is a tough beast to kill. The winds howl incessantly, and visibility is so bad that June seems to be a distant promise of the possibility to venture outdoors sans long johns and big fur mittens. I thought I heard a snowmobile whirring away, but it was just the kitchen fan humming from the wind.

Now that spring and summer seem so close, the next few days should be mosquito-free and an ideal time for a picnic. As the saying goes, best to be in the right place doing the right thing for the right reason. Except if you are a goose roasting over an open fire, then it’s better to be somewhere else.

Another thing that seems to be going our way is the opening-up of the territory so we can travel and mingle in larger groups without masks! Finally, a reason to get a tan and provide proof that the great outdoors is good again! Yay! 

Soon restaurants will be back to serve us, but sadly, many of the workers have fled to greener pastures in hopes of finding some income. We were all prepared for that eventuality by getting certified to serve good food last year, but we were just catching up to the rest of the world with hygienic cooking habits and safe food preparation. At least we can still eat.

As far as the upcoming national holidays, I hope we have something to celebrate. I know that the music industry took a beating because of the restrictions on live entertainment, so the internet became our saviour when we needed to reach out and stay alive socially. 

If it weren’t for social media and other forms of communication, we probably would have had a very hard time keeping ourselves alive and well, not to mention completely informed. I found that social media kept me informed as well as misinformed. It was just a lot of international gossip-mongering and general silliness that kept things interesting. Who to trust with the right information?

All in all, we survived quite well, with very small, containable outbreaks and fewer people not caring for others. To date, people have only complained about a recent stomach flu outbreak – the only medical drama not associated with the pandemic. At least a bit of variety helped. Isolation helped too – it increased our appreciation for the freedoms we took for granted. Now every outing is a breath of fresh air.

As the pandemic winds down, we might finally achieve herd immunity, which means that you won’t get mad cow disease or anything else for a while. But maintain that constant state of cleanliness for a bit longer, before you safely touch other people or give them a peck on the cheek. 

It’s these small gestures of kindness and love that we haven’t been able to enjoy for too long now. I predict more closeness in families and for those who wish to start a new family. Life continues as it should, with a lot more insight into an experience we hope don’t have to relive.

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Sonny Orr is Cree from Chisasibi, and has been a columnist for the Nation for over 20 years. He regularly pens Rez Notes from the cozy social club in Whapmagoostui where he resides.