From the editorial in the Summer 2020 issue, in which we featured a mash-up of Coast and Kootenay content, here is Mike Berard on why he’s proud of humanity. Above photo by Dylan Sherrard.
We obsess over the unknown. What will happen next? How long will it last? Will we come out unscathed? Perhaps now more than ever, the mysteries of the world have our full, undivided attention. But as people, we remain divided. The COVID-19 pandemic has splintered our communities into microcosms: Families and friends have been kept from gathering. Borders are shut. Careers have been terminated. The unknown is scary. We first pulled together in fear, a mostly global mass of good people trying to figure it out. Currently, the loudest of us have retreated into the camps we’re comfortable in. The fearful liberals. The steadfast conservatives. The anti-vaxxers and the bleeding hearts. Militia-minded preppers and non-profit social-justice warriors. All our judgements have been laid bare. A storm of conspiracies rumbles from the dark corners of the internet. Who — or what — did this to us? We wonder how it happened. Why it happened. These obsessions over the unknown can be dangerous. Small factions fall away from the greater whole as they fixate on the same things we have always focused on: wealth, security, self-interest. As always, our weaknesses become known. So do our strengths.
On the whole, I am proud of humanity. We have seen a mostly measured and sane reaction to what many feared might devolve into a half-baked zombie apocalypse. Fear didn’t drive us to violence against our neighbours. It led us to hoarding toilet paper and butter. Boredom and anxiety didn’t inspire crime. It led to vivid dreams fuelled by anxiety, dreams that will most likely be spun into an empathetic creative renaissance. The art produced from this will be magnificent.
We can weather the storm and most can do it with grace, as we’ve done in previous pandemics, riots, and wars.
Together but apart, most of us played it safe. We stayed home. We set aside our selfish, lovely pursuits and watched Netflix. Some call us sheep, but as I write this, the tragic centre of the coronavirus, New York City, has seen the fever break. The storm will return, to be sure, in other places and in subsequent waves, but we’ve learned something about ourselves that will help carry us through flare-ups of COVID-19 and the recession that is sure to accompany them: we can weather the storm and most can do it with grace, as we’ve done in previous pandemics, riots, and wars. When push truly comes to shove, we endure. We clean up. We stumble forward, together.
We are about to move into a summer with a potential for love and adventure and friendship the likes of which we may never see again, but only if we choose it. Let’s reflect on what matters and what we missed most during the lockdown: adventure in the outdoors, safety and respect for each other, and an obsession for the great unknown. Whatever is out there, we got this.