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Carl Wernicke: It's Spring And Things Are Getting Better


I should apologize to WUWF listeners for the inconstancy of these commentaries. It’s an insufficient excuse, but like most of us my life has been in something of a flux over the last year.

It isn’t the whole story, but my wife and I both contracting Covid-19 last year has much to do with it. I won’t bore you with the details other than to say we weren’t as sick as many people we heard about, but sicker than many others.

Worse, while we might not qualify as true long haulers, the effects of the sickness lingered for many months, and might not be totally gone. The worst impact for us is a common complaint among those who contracted Covid, and that is fatigue. There are still days when nothing seems to explain the lethargy and lack of energy that overtakes us, often right after a really good day.

For a writer, fatigue is hard to overcome. It takes psychic energy to write, and to do so regularly means finding a steady supply. Not to mention the energy required to overcome the constant fear that you will bore readers, or, in this case, listeners. But spring seems like the right time to rebound from the awfulness of the past year. Thankfully, our community appears to be springing back as well.

We’ve been able to put more time into our garden lately, and it is coming along well. Nature of course moved along without concern about our status, and my first foray to my secret downtown blackberry patch was rewarded with a nice haul. That despite the fact I had to work my way around a number of other pickers, which indicates the secret has leaked out. Fortunately nature provides in abundance, and there are more than enough berries for all of us.

We have also begun to return to area restaurants and bars, and even going inside. Like everyone we have developed an appreciation for takeout, but we like getting out. And it’s nice to see how quickly downtown crowds have returned – and I can only hope the vast majority are vaccinated.

This month also marked the return of a longtime music pickin’ party hosted by friends in Santa Rosa County for as many years as I can remember. It draws many accomplished musicians who play in myriad combinations with each other on multiple instruments. And being old like me, most were vaccinated.

This year’s party was marked by the return of one of our most cherished human acts, the hug. People seemed giddy to embrace old friends with this simple sign of affection and affirmation.

We remain challenged by this pandemic. But with the advent of spring and the availability of vaccines, the entropy of the last year has given way to growth and renewal. It couldn’t be more welcome.

Carl Wernicke is a native of Pensacola. He graduated from the University of Florida in 1975 with a degree in journalism. After 33 years as a reporter and editor, he retired from the Pensacola News Journal in April 2012; he spent the last 15 years at the PNJ as editor of the editorial page. He joined the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition in 2012 as Senior Writer and Communications Manager, and retired from IHMC in 2015.His hobbies include reading, traveling, gardening, hiking, enjoying nature around his home in Downtown Pensacola, as well as watching baseball and college football, especially the Florida Gators and New York Yankees. His wife, Patti, retired as a senior vice president at Gulf Winds Federal Credit Union and is a Master Gardener. Carl is a regular contributor to WUWF. His commentaries focus on life in and around the Pensacola area and range in subject matter from birding to downtown redevelopment and from preserving our natural heritage to life in local neighborhoods.