It’s A Bird! Self-Isolation – Day 6

Winter skating on the riverwalk several years ago

  • My friend Maryann lives on the river and writes in her recent thoughtful blog post how she has observed many families taking advantage of Winnipeg’s icy river paths to get some exercise during this time of social distancing. Dave and I have been going for nightly walks for our exercise. Dr Deena Hinshaw the Chief Medical Officer of Alberta says that’s a good idea. She is encouraging Albertans, even those in self-isolation, to get outside and be active.  She does warn us, however, to stay two meters apart from others, and not to go outside if we are sick. 

Mom and Dad with the world map we gave them for Christmas one year. It is now covered with colourful pins that show the myriad of places in the world my parents’ travelled.

  • The seniors’ residence where my Dad lives requests we not visit except for emergencies.  My siblings and I have set up a schedule so one of us calls Dad every couple of hours to check on him. The dining room in his assisted living facility has closed so workers bring meals to his room.  He told me yesterday he showed the staff member who brought his lunch his map of the world with colourful pins in all the places across the globe my parents visited. He said she was really interested in his travels. I am so grateful to the caregivers in Dad’s building for the way they are keeping a physical distance but still taking the time for little chats with the seniors they serve. So many people Dad’s age are now are in almost complete isolation in their rooms and apartments.

On the Great Wall of China

  • My parents travelled the world extensively and so have my husband Dave and I.  I think a lot about whether globe-trotting will be encouraged after this pandemic is over.  Will it be necessary for us to keep more to our own countries in order to prevent the spread of future diseases? Will my grandchildren have the chance to see the world as I have been privileged to? 

A family garden near Merida I photographed last year during our two month stay in Mexico

  • I have an interesting conversation with my brother Ken who just got back from spending several months in Mexico including some time in very rural places.  He wonders if the people of Mexico won’t fare better than we will during the pandemic.  He says for the most part they are much more self-sufficient and don’t count on their government to provide them with clean water, police protection, electricity, internet service or a steady supply of food to purchase. They have had to learn to take care of themselves. 
  • Although during the week we read the Winnipeg Free Press electronically we get a paper version delivered to our door on Saturdays. We wonder if it could have coronavirus germs on it.  Dave gingerly removes the outer section and puts it in the recycling bin and then we read the rest of the paper and wash our hands after doing so.  Are we getting too paranoid?

    Some members of our small group helping us celebrate our anniversary in August

  • My friend Marie and her husband Bill are social-distancing at their cottage.  I have heard of other people who are doing that.  These last few days Marie has been writing encouraging messages in the comments section of my blog posts.  She and Bill are part of a small group of five couples formed many years ago when we were all attending Grace Mennonite Church in Steinbach. Even after some of us moved to other places, or stopped attending Grace Church, we kept our group together and we still meet regularly throughout the year to socialize and support one another just the way Marie is supporting me now with her kind words. I think it will be important to electronically maintain these circles of social support we had in our lives before the pandemic.

    The RaY building at 125 Sherbrook

  • I have a long talk with my cousin. Her daughter is on staff at RaY (Resource Assistance For Youth) an organization supporting at-risk kids under age thirty, most without permanent housing. Unfortunately, coronavirus means RaY has had to adapt the kind of help they can give kids, but I notice on their website they are coordinating with other Winnipeg social agencies to find the best way to lend a hand to our city’s vulnerable homeless population during these uncertain times. One of the things I hope we are learning during this pandemic is that the welfare of everyone in our society is intertwined with ours and when we ensure even the most vulnerable have help we are really helping ourselves.  You can go to the RaY website and make a donation.  Even if we are in self-isolation there are still ways to help others. 
  • I am reminded of the evening our family was talking with the pastor who was preparing to speak at my mother’s funeral and my brother told a story about a time in his life when things weren’t going well and he was feeling sorry for himself. My Mom asked him gently and wisely, “Son do you think you are doing enough to help other people?”  Mom knew when we help others we feel better about ourselves. I think that will be something to remember as we deal with the inevitable depression and sadness that will accompany our current situation.

    Erik’s latest artwork on display outside his home

  • My former teaching colleague Erik is an artist self-isolating with his family in Saudia Arabia. Every day he puts a different artwork he’s created outside their house for passersby to enjoy.  My great-niece Izzy had her eleventh birthday yesterday and although she couldn’t have a party, friends came and left presents outside her door. Our friend Ed just recorded five classical guitar pieces for us to enjoy on Facebook.  Listeners are posting appreciative feedback. I have read that while we need to be physically distancing at this time we need not be socially distancing. There is an important difference!
  • Dave found some birdseed we got in a gift exchange at Christmas and he put it on our window ledge. We are on the fifth floor of a hundred unit condo building right in the heart of Winnipeg. I was sceptical about birds finding the seed there.  But……….. it wasn’t long before a crow arrived.  “Come and see,” Dave called. “It’s a bird!”  I tried to take a photo but the crow flew away when I got too close.  I am thinking bird feeders might actually provide some great entertainment for folks who are self-isolating. 

Other posts………..

Cocktails in A Stable

A Walk to Breakfast in Merida Mexico

Finding the Elusive Quetzal in Costa Rica

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