One joy of these Covid days has been hosting Friday’s Back Country radio show on KHNS, often in the company of my grandaughter Caroline. It’s social, but very distant– since the company we are with are all at home, or work, or maybe in their cars or trucks. The Chilkat Center and KHNS have strict mask rules, the control room is sanitized between shifts, and I always open the window. There are usually only one or two other people in the building and about that same number of dogs, and we all stay apart and masked (except the dogs, that we can still pet, thank God.)

It’s sort of lonely, this continued isolation, but being on the radio and sharing a few hours of country tunes, weather reports, the community calendar, and newsy bits of public service announcements like when to get a flu vaccine,  gives me that old time Haines feeling. (Old time as in everything prior to mid-March.)

So did yesterday’s free all-town flu shot clinic at the SEARHC Haines Medical Center. Chip and I left Dad sleeping upstairs and hopped over the hill in the truck and waited in line with all sorts of people I haven’t “seen” in a while. Friends, neighbors, the guy who rants on Facebook about bears or the borough assembly– and all the young nurses and helpers, many of whom grew up here– I just love seeing them at work. They know our names and we know theirs, even through all the masks. It felt festive and communal. I didn’t mind the 20 minute wait. Who knew a flu shot could be cause for celebration? The clinic will offer similiar events for the school and out in Klukwan. They say you don’t want Covid and the flu, and at least this shot may prevent one of them.

The other thing I did that made me feel much better than I have in a while, is vote early at the Borough office. I had to wait there too, but not as long, since their hours are longer, and there were only two people ahead of me when I arrived in a lull. That also felt very civic and right– and was such a relief. I have done my duty and may have saved the world (I hope) so be sure you do yours.

Isn’t the light right now beautiful? The clear cold and dusting of snow on the mountains (and on the tidelines) is perfect– soft and gentle even. Just what I need.

Everyone knows we are supposed to try to live in the moment, to appreciate the small stuff– (Here, the magic of  a walk on the beach or a drive to town bowls us over ) — and not fret about tomorrow, or Thanksgiving without a crowd. I’m pretty sure we will have months to keep practicing this habit. So there’s that to be grateful for, anyway.

“Home sings me of sweet things,” as the country tune goes, and this fall, and the winter to come, will remind me no doubt that “life here has its own wings”, and that “to live is to fly, both low and high,” as another favorite singer sings. But I will have some help thanks to those radio Fridays.

And, my 87 year-old dad is here. My sister and I are sharing  his care (and company ) and really hoping he will stay with us for the winter, as being alone on his farm in New York does not seem to be a good idea right now, you know?

Can I tell you how happy this makes me?