Good news from Wiarton

Word officially came this past Tuesday from Wiarton Willie. According to legend, when the weatherman rodent stands and doesn’t see his shadow an early spring is on the way.

This soothsaying tradition is just that – a fun ritual in a bleak month – but after the year people have had any good news is welcome news indeed.

We have actually marveled since the start of this winter season at how fortunate residents have been. Cold days and a couple of snow events is far better than some years when -30 degrees Celsius and a weekly pounding of snow seemed to be the norm.

Kids and some energetic parents have greatly enjoyed tobogganing in 2021. Walkers seem to get out and about with far greater ease this year than previous times. Exercise is something we all need, particularly as the lockdown drags on.

Very shortly Canadians will recognize the anniversary of government actions taken to stop the spread of COVID-19. The grueling routine of staying at home and missing out on time with friends and family has been very tough.

Hours loom between writing this, meeting a press deadline and hearing for sure whether students will return to school. Great concern exists for parents and grandparents, worried that pupils will have missed at least one year of proper schooling. Pshaw to the notion of effective home-schooling online. It is better than nothing, but not by much from the parents we speak with.

Once behind it is too hard to catch up, forcing some students to pack it in. The idea that interim report cards will accurately reflect academic and social achievement is laughable at best.

By Wednesday night we hope to have heard that school is in and students can escape the confines of isolation. They will need to be careful and parents will need to encourage safe behaviours, but it is time to return to school.

This waiting and seeing is taxing on us all. The slumber of winter is nearly over and the slow march to spring begins.

There is hope, dear Willie – spring is on the way.