I’ve written about 18 of these this year.
I didn’t publish any of the others, largely, because it felt like overkill — there’s only so much thinking, talking and writing about this godforsaken, never-ending pandemic you can
do before you’ve had a gutsful of all of it.
While we haven’t been ‘‘living’’ with Covid, we’ve been living with its effects.
For 22 months.
I’ve battled with writing this — mostly ’cos I’ve felt an overwhelming sense of bah-humbug.
Those of you who’ve been in Queenstown all that time know what it feels like.
We are knackered.
The anxiety is palpable.
The general mood is low.
We all feel it.
We can see it in the eyes of every local, even if the rest of their face is covered by a mask.
We, at Mountain Scene, aren’t immune to it either.
Last week I was watching a video of Queenstowner Matty McLean reuniting with his sister, whom he hadn’t seen in more than two years, at Queenstown Airport.
When he ran inside our terminal to hug her, my eyeballs started leaking and I couldn’t
seem to stop them.
If Covid’s taught us anything, it’s the importance of human connection.
The value of a hug.
As I was watching McLean hug, and hug again, his sister, I wondered how long it might be till I get to hug mine.
How long it would be till I got to enjoy my brother-in-law’s mixology and BBQ skills again,
and his very special dry sense of humour.
I wondered how old my niece would be when I next get to see her and how many more milestones in her life I’ll miss.
And then I thought about how freaking amazing it’s going to feel when that day does come.
In that moment, a little bubble of hope formed.
I’m one of thousands here going through all of those emotions right now.
This time of year, particularly, is tough for those of us separated from our tribes.
This year’s been a bit tougher for me.
Last year I had a healthy dose of optimism to see me through.
Surely, we’d been through the worst? [insert laughing emoji here]
This year that optimism’s wavered.
In Queenstown, we’ve been treading water while constantly being smacked over the head
with flotsam and jetsam since last March.
All that said, reflecting on this year, I’ve decided there’s really only one thing for it.
To be grateful.
For example, I feel incredibly fortunate to have a job — and one that keeps me so busy I
don’t really have time to think about the other things too much.
I’m grateful to live in a community where we continue to look out for each other.
I’m grateful this place is full of thinkers and doers, who are not just seeing the opportunity
in this cluster, but are actively going after it, and they will make us better in the long-term.
For the community leaders who continue to advocate for us, in spite of the trolls hell-bent
on trying to bring them down.
I’m grateful — beyond measure — for the people I have around me, who refuse to let me
fall (except that one time in May when I did and broke my elbow, but I was unsupervised at the time, and we should know by now I require constant supervision).
I’m grateful for my health — as one of those people at a greater risk should I get the ’vid,
that’s something I don’t take for granted.
I’m particularly grateful for the hugs.
Mostly I’m grateful that in spite of the constant WTF of the past two years, I still have that tiny glimmer of hope things are going to get better.
Maybe not as soon as we’d like, but soonish.
And, really, that tiny little spark of hope is all I need to keep going.
None of us knows what’s coming at us next, but we’ve made it this far.
I don’t know if you’ve worked it out yet, but we’re made of some pretty tough stuff in these
parts … we can, and will, get through whatever 2022 brings.
I hope, regardless of your plans for summer, you get a moment of respite and, within that,
take a minute to focus on the good stuff this year … it’s there if you look for it, I promise.
Scene’s taking a break till January 13, when we’ll be refreshed, revived and ready to rev it up again.
Thanks for everything this year, legends — we heart you.