December 8 Editorial.
We’re losing our connections.
As we go into another holiday season, with Gabriola traditions once again being put aside to protect each other from whatever COVID has waiting for us – we are losing our connections.
It starts with the easily recognized losses. Where we’re losing our ability to raise monies for needed programs and infrastructure on Gabriola.
Prime example. The Gabriola Elementary School Craft Fair.
This singular fundraiser for the Parents Advisory Council (PAC), used together with contributions from the Gabriola Lions, use to give the PAC the ability to do all it needed to for the students at GES.
Yet for two years now – for all the right and necessary reasons – the School Craft Fair has not happened. This means the PAC is not able to raise the funds it usually does.
But there are more impacts to this than just the PAC finances.
It also means all of the vendors who would normally sell their wares are not able to do so – and not just the vendors from the community. There’s also the students themselves who would set up their own tables to sell crafts.
But, beyond the PAC and vendors, there’s also the social side of the school craft fair which will be lost for a second time this year. And the social side being lost at many of the holiday happenings which are once again being put on hold, or being held in a format which is less in-person than we would prefer.
And these are where we get those reminders of who our fellow islanders are.
The warmth that comes from being in the school gymnasium, the Community Hall, or wherever we would gather.
We aren’t getting to share those common spaces in the same way.
And so, we are retreating to the digital realm. A place which has no time and space. Where arguments can rage for days, and nights, but apologies never seem to happen. Where the meme, the gif, and the short retort reign.
We need the hug, the handshake, and the nudge to make amends because you randomly ran into each other.
Those are missing.
As is the happiness of talking about nothing-and-everything with that random friend in the middle of a craft fair.
Sitting and laughing next to strangers at the Gabriola Players panto. Standing shoulder to shoulder in the winter rain at Christmas Alive. Or singing Gary Fjellgaard’s Islanders at the Island Singers concert.
The visceral experience, the in-person experience, the shared experience with each other, that is what will again be missing this year.