A new mantra

“We’re not out of the woods yet.”

I’ve been repeating this old expression to myself over the last several days like a mantra. I’ve been repeating it in reference to COVID-19, to the violence and political strife south of our border, to the various political and social crises that have frayed at my patience and sense of hope for the past year.

I repeat the phrase, not out of my usual sense of pessimism, but to try and temper a new, joyful optimism that, while we might not be out of the woods, it’s starting to feel like we’re getting close.

The disastrous US presidency of Donald Trump ended yesterday. The problems he created won’t leave alongside his bad hair and fake tan. Just this week, federal Conservative leader Erin O’Toole announced his intention to eject MP Derek Sloan from the party after discovering that Sloan accepted a donation from the notorious neo-Nazi Paul Fromm. O’Toole was vociferous in his disavowal of white nationalism, despite using Trumpian rhetoric in his own “Take Back Canada” campaign.

With COVID restrictions about to loosen in Manitoba, it’s tempting to call up that person I matched with on Tinder and, after months of texting and the odd socially distant outdoor walk, say, “Want to grab some dinner?”

We’re not out of the woods yet.

Despite loosening restrictions, Manitoba health officials say delayed delivery of vaccines to Canada means 1,000 fewer doses per day will be administered in the coming months. The revelation that, until recently, gyms inside City of Winnipeg buildings remained open shows we still have a major vacuum of leadership on the current crisis.

I remind myself and repeat that folksy mantra, not out of pessimism, but to remind myself of what we need right now: patience.

We’re not out of the woods yet

Published in Volume 75, Number 15 of The Uniter (January 20, 2021)

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