Editorial: The Great Pause

By Sue Tiffin

This week I paused in conversation on a phone call with Jenn Watt as the Ornge air ambulance flew directly over where I sat on the deck, partly because the sound of it drowned out everything else, but also because taking a moment to acknowledge as it passes is an unspoken act of reverence in our family. We remember what it is like inside, and think of our friends and neighbours who might be in it now, as well as the front line staff who helped get them into it as quickly and safely as possible. 

Jenn made note of an occasion in which she had visitors from out-of-county who were curious when she paused by habit of a small town resident to crane her neck and watch as the air ambulance flew over her house. For many of us in the county, we recognize the sound of that helicopter as it enters and exits the county, and that feeling of sorrow that someone is in need but also hope that someone is being helped. It’s a unique part of our fabric here.

There is something profoundly moving about pausing collectively as a community – especially one as small and connected in that smallness as ours – whether it be for a funeral procession as it passes, to honour those who served in war, to listen to a valedictorian’s speech or to feel all the emotion that swells in that moment between the last note of our bands and orchestras and the round of applause.

While the world paused in March, there was no exception for our little towns, largely continuing to do so to the best of our ability or situation throughout the following months as the province reopened. Now, as the summer winds down and we exhale from the activity and energy and extra population it brings, we can reflect on what is to come. 

We can read the many projections and expert opinions from our province, other provinces throughout our country, other countries around the world but we don’t know what we face next in this year of pandemic, here or elsewhere: will we encounter a second wave, will we experience another lockdown, will a vaccine bring a solution, will the insecurities and systemic challenges brought more to the forefront at this time improve?

What we do know for certain is that the fall is here, which usually offers a soothing pause between extreme heat and extreme cold. This time in the year is best for us to respect the transition of seasons, take a moment to reflect on what has been and what we want to happen in our own lives, give thanks for what has gone right, and acknowledge the quiet times found here, in the community we have all for our own reasons chosen to celebrate and contribute to, in the midst of chaotic times in the world around us.

Moving forward we can pause to appreciate the immense work our school board, schools and trustees have put in to making the next few weeks as safe as possible, pause for our teachers who we know will do everything they can to help our children thrive in these times, pause for our children as they go back to school and their parents trying to navigate it all, and pause before reacting harshly – to comments, to headlines, to sacrifices we need to make and changes in the convenience in our lives, to those going through tough times or tougher times alongside us, to each other.