Notes on the New (Improved) Normal
A game of millimeters, this one is, this re opening up of our society one tiny little step at a time. We don’t watch the virus 8 hours a day on TV, so we’re not always up on how the other provinces are doing, but from what seems to be happening here, Ontario is doing a good job of clawing her way back. How great is it to see our restaurant patios opening up again, definitely battered, but still kicking? What a relief to see the yellow tape disappearing in the parking lots, and our visitors heading tentatively down to the water on our newly opened beachfront. How nice to tee the doors swinging at Town Hall and the Library as the good people of Wasaga Beach start getting out once again and doing their business. It’s beautiful music, really, and a good lesson, too. Anyone who is serious about learning music knows that patience and persistence carry the day, and that meaningful progress only comes with mindfulness and practice. So we take our small steps, and measure our progress, and watch out for setbacks, and day by day we all get better together. We’re going to be OK.
One of the very best (and earliest) re openings was golf. And there’s an analogy here, too. I mean, you really can’t talk about glimmers of hope in the midst of acres of abject misery without talking about golf, can you? We play golf 3 times a week or so, nicely social distanced (Pat in the woods and me in the river), and it’s become a mantra of therapy for us. Plus it’s 3 hours of not eating. I came to the game later in life but I certainly love it. I think it’s because it is so similar to music. Both rely on a small handful of skills which can be assimilated in a week or two; the devil being in the details, which can easily chew up a lifetime or two. The difference for me is that I have NO delusions about my competence on the links. In music I strive for pars and birdies every outing and succeed just often enough to keep myself coming back for more. Not so golf, where I blithely slash away with carefree abandon, seldom breaking 100 and loving every minute of it. And unlike in music at the professional level, there are no wolves chasing the golf cart.
With a little bit of luck, everything will be pretty much back on track by Christmas time or so. And if we’re lucky, we’ll all roar back with a little reset. Here’s hoping our new (improved?) normal will be just a bit slower, a bit kinder and a bit more reflective. Let’s play more golf. And play more music. And go out for a beer on the patio once in a while. Let’s call the kids more, and walk the dog a bit farther. Let’s get back and be “us” again. Only just a little bit better.
As published in the Beach Booster, June 28, 2020.