We, the Lucky Few

by | Jan 11, 2022 | Blog

Dear Boundless Families:

Amidst a troubling pandemic and a litany of Rapid Antigen Testing (RATs), your kids arrived in our 600 acre deep freeze safely yesterday. They also managed to keep all their toes and fingers from falling off.

It was minus 31, without the wind chill, when I woke up this morning. That’s way better than a mundane number like minus 18.  The latter is just an irritating cold. Minus 31 is an epic freeze. There are few sounds as lovely as crunchy minus 30 snow.

For the third time, we are the only in-person high school open in Ontario – at least until next week. We, the lucky few, get to live in a community. To decipher the smiles beneath the masks. To live and learn like human beings.

Carter, a teacher here, rallied the crew early a.m., boiled water, and watched the kids frolic by throwing water from cups at each other. Of course, at minus 31, it instantly transforms into mist. Quite the party trick. Epic cold presents opportunities. They’ll study why this happened.

In the past four viral waves, our COVID protocols felt ceremonial. The threat up here was theoretical. There really was no Covid in Renfrew Country where we reside. We diligently followed the rules, but I didn’t lose sleep. Not once.

Omicron feels different. We approach it with great humility. The threat feels real this time. Already two staff are away on “protocol”, and two students have had to delay their arrival because they had some of the dreaded symptoms.

Last night I hung out with the group for the intro speech and silly get-to-know-you games. It was wonderful to see the returning kids. The new kids were watching everything happen ever so carefully, trying to conceal their mixture of wonderment and alienation behind their masks. But make no mistake. Every utterance is assessed. What is this place? 

Marion, a student who is adopting the role of great aunt, knocked on two new kids’ bedroom doors, and yanked them out of their hiding with, “Okay you two, it’s time to come out and play”. 

And they both did. 

The alumni are extending every gesture of warmth and engagement. It’s having an impact. Already the newbies are finding their footing.

Sam is disturbingly adept at crokinole, especially for playing it for the first time. I sense my reign as the Palmer Rapid Crokinole Ace is in jeopardy.

And I am told I should brush up on my chess gambits, for Sebastian is soon to arrive.

My favourite moment of the day was watching Sebrina squint her greeting behind the mask. Gosh it’s good to see her back. I just can’t hug. I hate that the most about Covid.

It’s been a lovely and frigid start for the lucky few. I’ll be back at ya in about ten days.

Warmly (emphasis on warm),


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Steven Gottlieb
Steven Gottlieb