As people begin to emerge from dwellings after six or more weeks of staying home, the May sunshine has the potential to spark full-fledged spring fever.
Take heart. Take it slow. Upon release from stay-home rules, we must resist the temptation to become social butterflies so as to not undo the ground we’ve gained.
The vast majority of valley residents who hunkered down to slow the rate of coronavirus infection have accomplished something heroic and incredible: Case numbers have fallen.
While dozens have become ill and tested positive for COVID-19, thus far only one Teton County man has died. St. John’s Health has been able to manage respiratory patients without other patients or employees becoming sick.
So far the curve has been flattened.
Apparently many valley residents got the memo that when the going gets tough, the tough get going on a home or volunteer project in lieu of dinner parties and concerts.
Whether they put the pedal down on their sewing machines or put the hammer down on restless, socially deprived children, people have stepped up for this community in a historic way.
Faced with grim financial pictures, many businesses have adapted the way they operate and even found ways to give to those in need, from human and pet food to house cleaning. The Community Foundation of Jackson Hole received more than $3 million in its Community Emergency Response Fund. One22 has raced to pay rent checks and electric bills. Some landlords have forgiven chunks of rent for financially strapped tenants. New nonprofit efforts have sprung up to feed health care workers or the quarantined and energize restaurant kitchens along the way.
Even those armed with nothing more than goose decoys, teddy bears, chalk, paint and imagination have contributed art along pathways, in windows, in front yards to lift people’s spirits and give them a reason to smile or laugh during this somber time. At 8 p.m. nightly, cock an ear to the streets of town and you’ll hear howls echoing off the mountains, paying tribute to the heroes among us and reminding us we’re not alone.
As we poke our masked heads out of our bunkers and into the light — perhaps a little pale, lonely and unkempt — let’s be encouraged by the progress we’ve made, bolstered by the systems now in place, grateful for the care shown for friends and neighbors and comforted by the sense of community renewed.
We’ve got this.