Looking at the pages of this paper published one year ago, it makes clear all we are missing out on due to the pandemic.
There are photos of graduation, of course, with youth arm in arm and crowds of families with no thought to their proximity. There are articles about National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations, and the International Day of Yoga, the Walk to end ALS, and the planned Squamish Arts Council Art Walk.
The Squamish Sikh Society was gearing up for the popular Guru Ka Langar celebrations in our streets.
The sports pages were filled with photos from the Sp’akw’us 50 bike race and a provincial track meet.
Canada Day was on the horizon, with its parade and multicultural celebrations at Totem Hall on the agenda. Council and congregations were meeting in public.
Families had already met to celebrate dads in homes and long-term care facilities without a thought of what might be lurking in their droplets.
This all seems like a lifetime away from the Squamish of today and that hurts. This pandemic has changed our society, perhaps just for a blip — maybe all these things will all be back next year and we will click our tongues and shake our heads in shared memory of that crazy 2020.
But with the justified mourning we all need to do for what we are enduring, it also feels like real and lasting change for the better is in the air, arguably thanks to the pandemic too.
Regardless of whom you talk to in town these days, it seems the air is electric with the shifting of perspectives and the opening of minds.
The disgusting truth of it is that George Floyd wasn’t the first person of colour to die the way he did, and as we have seen, he wasn’t the last.
But, given the extra time away from all those things with others we used to enjoy, people in Squamish and around the world seem to be reflecting more, taking action more, changing more. It is a weird thing to say, but it is like collectively, we were too busy, too wrapped up in our next event to truly address the things we knew weren’t working or weren’t just.
The current pressure on our government and other institutions is more than it has been in the past, the outcry louder, the organization, better.
There have been more of the necessary difficult conversations in our homes and online around racism, our real history and changes we could make long-term to slow climate change.
There have been conversations around other things too that may also impact us long-term such as how work is done, for how long and by whom.
We have truly seen for the first time in our lifetimes the importance of front line workers, including grocery store staff and cleaners.
Our snow globe has been shaken and that is hard, but it means that when the shaking stops, we may be a better community for it.