Oh, look at the sun, I must say to myself
Our neighbourhood started putting out Christmas lights early this year. Last year they were scant; a few houses, done up in mid-December, mostly with inflatables and not lights. This year, the first lights appeared in early November, tentative, and by the first of December they'd spread up and down the streets. Trees in front windows (even though, in our development, front windows are kitchens, not the typical tree placement). It's obvious that, this year more than in the past, people wanted to bring light and share it.
To be honest, I'd been hoping for it. Christmas lights are one of my greatest joys, and Beans loves them, too. It's something we share together. And with her birthday on solstice, that day when we're halfway through the season of long nights, light-bringing is something we celebrate. It's also been one of the only ways we've been able to connect with our community this year, and that's been a huge empty space in my soul for what feels like a hundred years.
The end of 2020 isn't the end of the pandemic, and we know it. But with vaccines on the near horizon, and real hope of full distribution by March, it feels like turning a corner. It feels like we're maybe halfway through the dark. If we can just hang on, can keep doing our genuine best to protect each other, we might be on our way back up from the bottom of this. The reality isn't quite that simple; with the vaccines not yet approved for kids and testing for preschoolers not expected to begin until the end of next year at the earliest, even with absolutely best-case-scenario compliance parents face a longer uncertainty than those who operate primarily among other adults.
But still, vaccines are a miracle. My generation has never really dealt with serious ailments in the way those before us did; even our parents had relatively few to contend with, but for generations before that, pandemics and the death they brought were commonplace. This is my age group's first exposure to an illness on this scale that is so completely out of our control; no effective treatment, no solid means of prevention. To see that change is nothing short of miraculous.
I had a really hard time sympathizing, earlier in the year, with people who believed the stories about how this two weeks or that would be all it took. I assumed from the first days that we were going to be in this until vaccines, and assumed the vaccine timeline was going to be at least a year or two (and even that is the fastest we've ever done it). I struggled to sympathize with people's disappointment every time the two-week timeline was extended. But standing here, in early December, I maybe feel a little bit of what it felt like for them in the first week of our first two-week lockdown. A sense that this has an endpoint, if people do the right thing. Maybe we can still get out of the dark.
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