My daughter graduated from Ohio University nearly three years ago. She has spent the past two years working on mitigating the damage done to rivers and creeks of Appalachia in Athens by strip mining. The acid mine runoff turned the waterways orange and put their pH balance out of whack. I write that sentence, by the way, not really knowing the details. But it is enough for me to be happy for the environment in that poor area of Ohio, and be proud of my daughter.
Why do I mention all this? Because I am sitting here in the throes of both guilt and regret. Three years ago, I promised her a mother-daughter trip to England. I have never been fortunate enough to go to Europe and I have always been fascinated by its tangible history. Seeing the ruins of the Colosseum in Rome? Walking the grounds of the Tower of London? Seeing the remains of Pompeii? The fjords of Norway? Priceless.
I picked England because I love all Agatha Christie mysteries, everything on BritBox and all the history shows on Smithsonian, National Geographic and the History Channel like “Stonehenge Decoded” and “Inside Windsor Castle.”
My gift to her is as much a gift to myself as it is to her. We were both excited. The trip was delayed to 2019 because of job responsibilities. Then to 2020 because of finances. Then to 2021 because of a little thing called a pandemic.
I really felt we were ready for May 2022. I was poised to buy two tickets when the variants started. Now I really just don’t know. Is it safe? Will our trip be canceled at the last minute because of a new variant?
Yes, I know that sounds selfish. I appear to be more worried about a vacation than I do about the ramifications of a worsening (albeit not as severe if people are vaccinated) pandemic. People have died. Families decimated. Jobs lost. Wage earners lost.
But I think it is unhealthy to avoid the emotions and sadness caused by a worldwide crisis. My fully vaccinated daughter is still obsessive about wearing a mask everywhere. My husband and I mask up when we go into stores and restaurants. We are all tired of it, but trudge on.
Am I grumpy about potentially postponing my dream trip again? You betcha. But health and humanity obviously are more important.
So I guess I’m back to planning and dreaming for another year. But that is OK. I have BritBox, Curiosity Stream, Discover+ and a host of other streaming channels to enjoy England vicariously. I’ll get there some day. And it will be a new day of health and happiness.
We all deserve that.
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