Rebuilding the Dream, Pt 13

Reflecting on 2020

Christmas has come and gone, and we all look forward to a brighter year. Up until the last three months, I found 2020 to be more of an annoyance than anything else. Because of the pandemic, we were grounded, so to speak. Covid-19 was on the loose around the world, and people, particularly older people, were dying by the hundreds, then thousands. We shelved our plans hoping the illness would run its course by summer.

Warm weather brought with it the call of the wild. Americans, experiencing “pandemic fatigue,” flocked outside in droves, thinking the sun and outdoor air would protect them from the plague. Alas, this little bug is resilient and managed to make its way across America and the world in the deadliest fashion. All while a portion of the population denied its existence. Until the death toll became almost unbearable—and still more died.

In August, we braved the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. I would have skipped this year had we not had a private cabin with a kitchen and bathroom. I stayed out of crowded tourist areas, restaurants, and bars—I went to ride the Black Hills. And ride we did. We made it to Devil’s Tower, Needles Highway, and a few other favorite twisty roads. We also arrived home covid-free despite the “covid is a hoax” attitude that permeated the rally. We later watched as the virus used that reasoning to use the gathering as a super-spreading event.

Then came October and a “spot fire” from the Cameron Peak Fire that took out a third of the community that I call home. Lack of funds, a covid diagnosis, and winter weather ground that recovery effort to a halt. First Reader and I spent the better part of November recovering from, thankfully, mild cases of covid. I still feel mild effects like fatigue, brain fog, low-grade headache, tinnitus, and sinus inflammation. The days are a little more challenging to get through when they all hit at once—like yesterday. I’m going to blame it on the activities of the afternoon.

First Reader and I set a self-imposed deadline to clear our storage unit of the rest of my mom’s furniture, clothes, and leftover “stuff.” We put out a call to the family and set up a time after the kids got off work. We only had a few large items and heavy boxes left that First Reader and I would rather not hurt ourselves over, especially when we have kids and grandkids to do some of the lifting. Besides, we would never hear the end of it if we didn’t ask them. These days, I’ll happily accept all the help I can get.

December has not been remiss in adding its share to the train wreck that became 2020. I sent my beloved Australian Shepard, Drake, over the Rainbow Bridge at mid-month. My boy spent almost twelve years chasing a ball around our meadow. As much as I wanted him to see home again, I knew that his pain wouldn’t let him last that long. He was so arthritic that he wouldn’t let me touch his hips or back legs. His vet agreed that it was time. We could medicate him and extend his life for a few weeks or months, but he would never see his beloved meadow again. He will forever sit on my desk, his picture watching me as I work. I’ll miss him dropping that slobbery ball at my feet and his golden eyes begging me to throw it again. The hardest decision we have to make for our fur-babies is when to let go.

Personally, I’ll be glad to see the last of 2020. But what will 2021 bring?

More of the same, I’m sure. While a covid vaccine is now available, distribution is still an issue. We’ve seen no indication that the pandemic is slowing down. And political tensions are still running high. I want to think America will calm by the end of January, but we’ll see.

As for First Reader and me, this will be the year of rebuilding. We will clear out the debris of our past lives and move forward to build a new, brighter future.

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