Down the pandemic path, just months ago,
We were so suddenly forced to travel
And each of us experienced unforeseeable changes
Watching the course of our lives unravel.
Retired and living amongst acres of wilderness,
This natural isolation left me quite blessed.
Just because people couldn’t gather together in 2020 doesn’t mean that they didn’t have stories to share. This year the Yorkton Arts Council’s Story Slam event went virtual, with five local storytellers submitting their story virtually.
This year’s judges - Michelle Goulden, Marj Dech, Calvin Daniels, Amber Harvey and Tricia Friesen Reed - each scored the submitted stories and in the end came up with one winner. That winner was C.V. Sastry with his tale Escape from Manhole.
This week we will be reprinting the submitted stories. To listen to them tell their story visit yorktonarts.ca.
I didn’t deal with the more common struggles
That left so many others harried and stressed.
I could walk miles of trails with my husband and dog
To fight the boredom of being stuck inside
Yet still I craved a high intensity workout
To deal with demons that wouldn’t subside:
Distress, negativity, anxiety, despair,
Uncertainty in this pandemic ordeal.
Like others I faced these monsters
Always lurking; my Achilles’ heel.
And so when the corona chaos led to shutdown
A home fitness routine became crucial;
And to ward off the mental health angst,
I became a CrossFit on-line pupil.
The bunkhouse transitioned to a gym space
To perform each WOD, or workout of the day,
And I collected whatever equipment I could:
Mats, weights, rings, a box; all quite a motley array.
My coach assigned three WODS a week,
All different, not one ever to repeat
And while I prefer to embrace the comfort of routine,
Each WOD presented a new challenge to beat.
Push ups, pullups, squats, lunges and lifts
The combinations and rep numbers quite daunting.
Could my body actually get through these?
Soon, in my dreams, WODS started haunting.
I’d lie if I claimed to be fearless
Before I began each WOD
But when the timer began I’d dig in
Sometimes with a plea for help from God.
Upon completion I’d often collapse
In a sorry human heap on the floor
Dripping with sweat, gasping for breath,
Could my body have endured anymore?
But along with this state of exertion
Came the thrill of completing a goal
And a post WOD euphoria would overtake
A power thrumming through body and soul.
Those demons, the naysayers with voices strong,
Striving to creep into my thoughts day and night
Disappeared with my joy, my achievement
After a workout they were easier to fight.
In April, doing box jumps, I suffered a fall
Through a deep gash, my shin bone gaped white.
One legged, on crutches, with stitches in place
My normal routines changed outright.
No more fresh air walks, no more bunkhouse visits
The days found me mostly confined to a chair,
Watching the Covid crisis on TV,
All this brought on a mood of despair.
Oh those first days I felt I was losing
The struggle to fight arising depression,
Until the pain and swelling subsided somewhat
And I began to attempt some WOD sessions.
Up to the loft I’d crutch and I’d crawl
To pump weights and work up a sweat
These adapted WODS proved as tough as any
And I regained a bolstered mindset.
The injury drove home a valuable lesson
How quickly negative nasties appear
And the most effective way for me to battle their stealth
Is to perspire in my workout gear.
My leg healed and all summer I continued the WODS
Increasing my power, strength and speed.
I trained with the goal to run my fastest 5K
Though incredibly tough, I felt thrilled to succeed.
Eight burpees, five deadlifts, ten kettlebell swings
No stopping, repeat again, again and again.
Continue until the buzz of the ten minute timer
Somehow in this chaos… I find my zen.
The Covid pandemic is far from over
As a second wave and winter both approach;
But I feel prepared as I wield my deadly WOD weapon
Sent to me online by my CrossFit coach.