ARE WE OUT OF THE WOODS YET?

Opening introduction by Jen Groundwater
Photo by Scott Bell

I began to write this letter on a rainy, blustery day in early November—possibly not the best time to reflect on resilience. 

With the ongoing news about the pandemic, institutional racism, and the American election, not to mention the onset of that familiar seasonal gloom, everything felt pretty dark. 

To answer the question in the title of this piece (yes, it’s a Taylor Swift reference): No. We’re not even close. Like the rest of the world, our beloved Comox Valley is still grappling with tough times that require ingenuity, persistence, and caring. 

The good news is that we have a lot of people around here with exactly those traits. 

As the stories for this issue began to slide into my inbox, not a single one used the word “resilience.” And yet it’s woven into each piece, whether the story is literally about recovery or whether resilience appears more ephemerally, between the lines, as a philosophy, action, or emotion. 

In this issue, you’ll read about people building companies from family traditions. People carrying out marine cleanup when their work was halted by COVID-19. People healing by building trails and weaving cloth. People banding together to protect cherished forests. People saying goodbye to loved ones. People empowering others through community. People jumping in freezing-cold lakes. People growing gourmet food from decaying matter. People writing poetry, making visual art, and collecting music. People working to reinvent places and industries. 

If this all sounds quite serious and heavy, it’s not. Our contributors have created an inspiring and illuminating issue. Nourished by creativity and humour, human beings have an incredible ability to find new ways to cope and to flourish: the very definition of resilience. 

In every CV Collective, we get to shine a light on Comox Valley residents doing cool stuff, and right now, we need that light more than ever. I’m amazed by how far our community has come since March 2020. As a new year begins and we all try to get ’er done as best we can, may we hold each other up, be kind to each other, collaborate, and carry on.