Wednesday, June 12, 2024
Chris Judd

Week six: Reality check

Every town had one: A place where you could get new shoes on your horse; a place where you could get broken things fixed that were obsolete; a part wouldn’t come until it was too late or maybe you couldn’t afford the new piece. It was also a place where doctors, politicians, engineers, millionaires and old farmers gathered to watch a real genius at work fixing something that none of them could or maybe just chat and philosophize. This genius knew what the metal was made of by the look of the sparks that came off when the metal was touched with a grinder. He knew what colour the steel had to be when he took it off the forge that it would bend or weld to another piece of steel.
It was that rare occasion when he sat down and philosophized with you, that you realized that this man was a very smart, a deep thinker. He knew society has adopted the bigger is better theory to increase efficiency. He also knew that someday this theory would not work out. I once had a professor explain to me what a specialist was. The professor said a specialist is someone who learns more and more about less and less until he knows everything about nothing. Neither the professor nor the welder-machinist knew that a virus would bring the entire world’s advancements crashing down and leave people cowering in their homes, all without a plan B. Manufacturing plants came to a screeching halt because it wasn’t safe to put that many people together. There were very few sales because people quit buying non-essentials. Gas and oil production dropped to an idle when the world stopped driving. Slaughter plants had became enormous and efficient but when the virus made a few workers sick or dead, these plants that processed thousand of meat animals every day, closed their doors. Soon consumers were looking for meat at a little butcher shop that still worked with a small local abattoir. Farmers were dumping milk, holding back meat animals and throwing out eggs because the big efficient food distribution chain never had a plan B in place to deal with this.
Retirement homes were designed and built large and efficient so only a few workers could look after a hundred residents but not in these times.
Large pharmaceutical companies were so busy inventing fast moving, profitable products that they never even thought of a plan of attack for a world killing virus.
Some governments either threw out or never had a department that worked on preparation for pandemics. In some cases, partisan politics slowed down any response to attacking this pandemic.
On the bright side, spring has arrived, life in the soil has started, song birds are back and people now have time to look at the beautiful world around them, listen and watch the birds, and breathe fresh air since the pollution has subsided. Families have again began to prepare their own food, cook like their grandmother did, learn how a family works again, and maybe even plant a little garden. Society has learned that many jobs can continue at home. Technology has allowed us to spend less time traveling and more time working. We now have time to wonder why the song birds line up on electric wires before a storm. We can appreciate local musicians and artists that are as good as those we used to think of as famous. We now have time to call a neighbour and get excited when one waves at you. We have suddenly realized that nether skin colour, religious belief, political affiliation, language spoken, or financial status can save us from a virus. We are reminded that clean air and water, good food, and real friends are the important things in life and most other things are a bonus. Well, now the air is clean, Canada has the most fresh water in the world, farmers are still at work producing more food than the world needs, if we can figure out how to get it where it’s needed, and friends are only a phone call or a wave away.
We have had a couple months for giving ourselves a reality check. Do we really want to return to exactly the world that we had gotten used to? We can win this invisible war. Keep yourself, your family and your neighbour safe.

Chris Judd is a farmer in Clarendon on land that has been in his family for generations.


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