It was Friday March 13, 2020 when I first heard that the NHL had cancelled their hockey season indefinitely. What the…?? That’s when the truth finally sank in. The coronavirus – as we were calling it then – was deadly serious.
That’s also when I began watching the news incessantly. Global. CBC. CNN. I watched it 24-7. I couldn’t get enough. Like most everyone else I became frightened, neurotic and slightly unhinged. (Though not enough to stock-pile toilet paper.) I would have been less shocked If a world war had been declared. It had never occurred to me that – outside science-fiction – a worldwide pandemic could shut down the entire planet so rapidly.
In those early days I couldn’t read, write or listen to music. I couldn’t focus. I could only consume news. I watched the daily covid numbers in BC, in Canada and around the world. In utter shock I saw the horrific scenes coming out of Italy and Spain. I hung onto BC’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s every word. Yes Dr. Henry, I will behave responsibly. I’ll stay home. I’ll wear a mask. Hand washing? I’m surprised there’s any skin left on my hands.
And then my beloved dentist died of the f’n virus. It was no longer ‘out there’. If it could take him, it could take anyone in my family or community.
Months passed. I began to read again. But still I watched news. Read news. Listened to news on podcasts as I walked. And walked. As we moved into the third wave our hearts collectively grew heavier and heavier.
But then the vaccines began to roll out and ever so slowly the daily new cases began to decline. I received my first dose of vaccine. Relief! Without realizing it I began to wean myself from news. I quit keeping tabs on daily numbers. I began to socialize again, albeit safely.
The second dose of vaccine created havoc in my body, but it was short-lived pain. Hallelujah! I’ve been fully vaccinated!
Soon after that I turned on my Daily Spotify Mix – currated just for me – and suddenly everything changed just as quickly as it had on March 13, 2020. Beautiful music filled my home again and I found myself dancing around the kitchen as I made dinner. It felt like the music was resurrecting my soul. Throughout those many months when I’d been so anxious I couldn’t allow myself the abandon of giving myself over to it. Now that I have there is such relief. When I silenced the music, I also silenced that link to the vast array of emotions that makes us human and connected to a vibrant life. And with the return of music I’m finding new ideas for stories have come rushing back in too.
I’d like to think that I’ve learned from this experience, but I doubt it. When I’m in fight or flight mode, facing an enemy like Covid, I can’t open myself up to the pleasures of music or much else.
For now, though, that has changed. Bring on the Spotify Daily mixes. Soon I’ll be attending live theatre. And concerts. May the music never die again.
“Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.” Kahlil Gilbran