The way forward through the pandemic
It has been seven months since we shuttered our world from the onslaught of this virus, closing concert halls, bars, theatres and places for live music. We bravely signed into Facebook and Instagram, Zoom and YouTube to connect in any way we could. We played on street corners safely distanced from our neighbours and wore our masks. We Facetimed and hoped for the best. But winter is coming and we’re still hunkered down, deep in our isolations and distances. And we’re missing things. I miss the camaraderie of Wednesday night open mic. I miss the concerts in the park. I miss the odd live music venue where I’d sip a craft beer. Most of all, I miss the spark that goes through me when I hear live music. And it has to be live.
In a few short weeks we will see a monumental US election. We will be thinking of Christmas and bygone days when we gathered in our kitchens and played music as we toasted the year. We will see snow, likely sooner than later. We will see the end of this year, this tumultuous year. By now I had hoped we would be a little further towards the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, but it remains dark. As George William Russell wrote, the air is dense with omens. It does not look good for release from this any time soon. A vaccine may be coming, but will we take it? How will we navigate these waters and keep our serenity? I don’t know.
Even as I am unsure of what it will look like, I am convinced that there has to be a way forward. Humans are resilient in many ways and have faced hardships and won, came out the other side better for it. We found a way. We always did. So there is hope. We have to keep believing that hope will bring us forward.
I’m a part-time musician, but a full-time writer. I write a lot. I write about how I feel and how to process stuff. Most roots musicians, in my opinion, are the harbingers of the culture. We write about events as they unfold and sometimes we influence the culture to change. But looking back over the last few months, I see a pattern. Sure, lots of folks are playing music from home and finding ways to get it to their fans. But it has a sense of desperation to it, like we’re learning how to walk. Admit it, we got knocked on our asses by the upheaval this virus has caused, and I’m not sure we’ve been able to get back up yet. We’re still looking for a way forward, still looking for a plan, a road.
I think we’re still lost and struggling through the mists. We’re not out of the woods yet.
But I have hope. I really do. We are human and our spirit is strong and will prevail. We will find a way.