I was writing something on Norway Trail, the first dog sled race PJ and I participated in. I thought it would be fun to give a little day to day overview of what that week looked like, of all the things we’ve learned along the way. But it seems so irrelevant now. It’s only been two weeks since we came back from the race but it feels as if it can hardly have happened in the same year we are currently in. It’s as if from another era, maybe another lifetime, a distant sunny memory from when we were all still thinking that corona would stay in China and we would continue business as usual.
Things happened really fast after we happily sat down on the couch on Sunday the 7th of March. Within a week PJ and I were out of a job, hopefully temporarily for me but looking less promising for PJ. It then took another few days before the reality of that sank in. Even with the Norwegian governments new rules we will most likely fall back on what was one salary for the both of us. I know we have it better than many people in other places on earth, because we still get something. Yet for two people who’ve newly purchased a house and are trying to keep their eight dogs happy and healthy the prospects are bleak.
So for a few days we let our heads hang. We didn’t know what to make of it. We didn’t know how to put the ends together, emotionally and financially.
As one friend put it so eloquently: “Distance has never really been an issue for me but now, I don’t think I have ever missed so many people/places/possibilities all at once.” Friends and family are suddenly no longer within reach. My dad was supposed to be here right now and my sister, my mom and my nephews would follow at Easter. Now suddenly no one is coming.
After a while I figured I needed to get out. The weather was brilliant last week, so the dogs and I went exploring more in the mountains right in our back yard. I didn’t really enjoy it much the first day as I couldn’t get my mind off things. Day after day my thoughts brightened under the clear blue skies. During the dark hours I wondered what it would take to be able to stay where we are. The answer is whatever. Whatever it takes, we will do it. This place is home.
There is nothing we can do or change about the current situation anyhow. The situation is as it is, all we can do is try and make the best of it. We are lucky to live up here, hidden away in the pinewoods that surround us. We are lucky to have access to the high mountains within a five minutes drive. We are lucky to have the dogs. Really, they are keeping me sane through it all. And life as a broke but full-time musher really isn’t being all that bad.
In spite of the tough times we share with many others, there is one gift that this whole situation has granted many of us: time. Time is a rare commodity in our hectic society. Time is money they always say, though it seems to me that we can only have one of them. And currently we have time. Time to discover. Time to work on the house. Time to make long overdue calls and to just be together. Time is a valuable gift and we mustn’t forget that.