2020, The Year Godot Never Showed Up

Do you feel like you’ve been waiting for Godot? Or like a bird awaiting migration, restless in the lead up to a long journey.

We felt like we were still for all of 2020. Looking back, we weren’t as stationary as we imagined, though much more so than we have been in a very long time.

We managed a few camping trips when the province wasn’t on lockdown, and precautions were slightly more relaxed. Looking back, we realize we saw more friends and family than we thought we had. We enjoyed visits and shared meals when and in ways, it was safe to do so. We skated on a frozen patch of field ice, danced in the street, walked on trails, designed an identity for a yogi, worked on a Count Basie music video with our friend Frank and a branding/menu project for a vintage diner. And our Magdalen Islands Travel Guide is almost finished. We celebrated dad’s 81st birthday on March 6th. We zoomed through cocktails, birthday celebrations, collaborative work projects, holidays, guided tours of cities, film screenings, listened to speakers on topics like racial justice and climate change and even attended our niece’s White Coat Ceremony virtually. We marched in support of; first Black Lives Matter and then in support of justice for migrant workers. We continue to advocate for long-term care reform in Ontario.

We took photos, made videos, made banners, and Julie sewed clothes. We enjoyed shopping locally, discovering small farmers and coffee roasters while doing so. We cooked, baked, ate and sipped. We participated in poetry and recipe exchanges. We read so many books, listened to podcasts and watched Netflix. We learned. We went to a 24-hour beach party just 5km from here and slept in our van in our friend’s driveway. We attended physically distanced concerts in the park outside of our apartment each weekend throughout the summer and fall. We spent Labour Day camping at our friend’s cottage overlooking Kamaniskeg Lake, heard and watched a tree fall in their forest, were chased over water by storm clouds and rain. We fell asleep in the shadow of a nuclear plant listening to the sound of waves crashing ashore below and awoke to a calm and silent lake. Christian not only endured prostate surgery but now feels great. We were introduced to the best Iraqi foods on offer in Windsor by a friend we met walking through the park. Chrissy and Kyle from Spark Box Studio wrote us a love letter in the form of a video about our residency in 2016. A beautiful bookshop opened down the street in the building where Julie’s mom grew up, and her grandparents had a restaurant.

We made costumes and dressed up for Halloween as ghostly health care workers from the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic. We camped in November on the shore of Lake Huron, hiked and cooked over a wood fire while watching and listening to flocks of geese head south. We celebrated our granddaughter’s 8th Covid-style birthday party and camped on the street outside of our daughter’s new home in Guelph. We camped in our friend’s driveway in Toronto and at Eigensinn Farm during a wild windstorm that rocked our van like a cradle. We cut down a tree and decorated it for Christmas. We spent an unknowable number of hours waiting in line for Covid tests to visit Julie’s dad. Our initial visits with him were outside and through a fence, then indoors in a cube at a distance, eventually in his room as Essential Caregivers and then for a while, we were able to take him out around town in a wheelchair. On December 27th, Julie received the Pfizer vaccine because of her ongoing role as an Essential Caregiver to her dad.

We continued to live deeply throughout 2020. We marvelled just the other day as we stood on the beach looking out at Lake Erie how different every single experience to this spot has been in the past year. By the time we leave here, we will know this tiny corner of the planet better than we ever imagined. And for that alone, the year of Covid was better than bearable.

We never want to stop going, moving, exploring, seeking new experiences, new wild places. We love spending time together in the quiet of nature, in the centre of beauty, listening to the conversations of flowing rivers and breaking waves on shorelines interrupted by a Good Lord Bird pecking on the tree next to where we sit drinking our morning coffee. We want to hear more of the ensuing fireworks of the trees falling in the forest. We’ll have to do it nearby for a while longer.