Countless months later, Fizel’s Yaletown haircut grew out to look like a random assembly of straw tossed on my head. In this time, the world of yesterday receded into the horizon like an iceberg drifting out to sea while we watched, helpless and angry. The criminals who stole elections, hijacked countries, bombed hospitals, and crushed the world economy continued to rule unchecked, unable to contain the virus that stalked the globe. The real culprits, anonymous in their lairs. Someday there might be a reckoning but for many it will be too late and not enough.
By way of comparison, the newscast on my iPhone showed charts of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic which had two waves before it ended. We were in the third or fourth Covid variant by now. I lost track. A red arrow on another graph pointed to the waves of death, labelled “We are here”, and gleefully they said it’s not over yet even though the vaccines seemed to be rolling out okay in my corner of the world. With Trump out of the news cycle, this is possibly the next best thing that’s happened for the news and others in years.
Mostly, I don’t indulge in conspiracy theories. Nor do I contemplate the coming of the 5G world where we all have bar codes in our necks and totalitarian governments rule, even here. Mostly.
Mostly, I’m learning how to live in a world without a future. I can do that for the moment. I can sit here on the porch, under the tree in the shade and be present. Stillness comes with practice. I have time to practice.
I am not a journalist. I am not a philosopher. I am not a historian excited to document the first impressions of this historic shift. I am a simple person who needs a haircut, trying to make the right choices even when there do not seem to be many choices to make.
I don’t want to dwell in anger. I don’t want to be sad. I don’t want to be afraid. But I am a little of each though I do nothing much about it. They say the good times are coming back. I’m not sure yet. They had it wrong before. For now, the future has been suspended. Planning is pointless because I don’t know what to plan for. All we have is now.
Living in this house, semi-locked up reminds me of living on a boat. Self-reliant, secluded, and restricted, surrounded by a hostile world. From here the journey goes inwards. I can’t seem to find anywhere to go other than into my mind. Meditate and listen to the universe. Tune in to its hidden signals. Behind this hysteria other things are afoot though I can’t make them out. I make the mistake too often of talking. Talking into the wind. Talking when I should be listening. I have the wherewithal to take this on. I still want to communicate with you. I’m just not sure how this works.
In my solitude I plug in my guitar to gingerly pick my way through Robert Johnson’s “Love in Vain”. That song is a puzzle in its deceptive simplicity. Keith Richards once said it was the most difficult song he ever encountered. I won’t get it in this lifetime but that doesn’t stop me and as I struggle through it, I start to think how Robert MacFarlane talks about music like an ocean voyage: different every time. Though the melody is familiar, I play it in different keys or different rhythms with different notes and each time it falls into silence never to be heard in just that way again, like the details of an ocean voyage, unique, never to be repeated just so. That’s what’s going on here, a unique voyage never to be repeated like music falling into silence.
In the meantime, I sit on my porch late in the afternoons scratching my unruly head, a cold beer in hand when one day a car rolls by, windows down. Loud music blaring John Lennon singing “Nothing’s gonna change my world…” Easy for him to say, he’s a Beatle. A dead Beatle.