Guest Column: Making sense of the pandemic time warp


I’ve had difficulty placing events in order since March of 2020. The end of the 2019-2020 school year was a blur. Almost the entirety of the 2020-2021 school year is fuzzy, except I can remember starting to bring more and more students back to in-person education around the February break. I know we ended the year with almost our entire student body in the building.

Yet periodically, I’ll try to place other events in my mind, and I can’t remember exactly when it happened. Was that during the immediate closure during the initial portion of the pandemic? Or did that happen during the hybrid education portion of the program?

Did that happen before we even heard about the word Covid? And while I often cannot place the exact time that something happened over the past almost-18 months, I do know one thing for sure: The Earth continues to rotate on its axis.

This past Tuesday, our oldest son turned 15, and he started high school. It seems like this cannot be possible because it seems just about an hour and a half ago that I was giving him his first bath in the hospital. But Patrick was born in another time zone, so I can almost accept that 15 years have passed since he was born.

Our youngest son is in eighth grade, and I know that cannot be correct because Brendan was born here in Vermont. It’s hard to believe that we have been living here for all of his years at Allen Brook School and almost all of his years at Williston Central School.

Over the weekend, one of my dear friends dropped his oldest child off at Holy Cross. I met him and his wife at Holy Cross. We were in each other’s weddings. How is it possible that my friends are now parents of a Holy Cross student?

Countless milestones have happened since March of 2020. There have been birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. Children have been born, men and women have passed away, people have fallen in love, and made career changes. There have been downpours of rain, significant snowfalls, gorgeous full moons and breathtaking sunsets. The Earth continues to rotate on its axis.

Time waits for no one. It certainly is not waiting for me. There was a lump in my throat when I drove Brendan to what I know is his last first day at Williston Central School. The same day Patrick was being driven to CVU for his first day of high school. I suspect time is not waiting for anyone else either.

Yes, we are living through another surge in Vermont. We do need to take precautions. Get vaccinated. Wear a mask. And keep living your best life. Don’t wait for this Delta variant to run its course.

There is no time like the present. We have Covid in our world, and we may have it in our world for a while. Time is precious. The Earth continues to rotate on its axis.

~ Brian G. Ricca is a Williston resident and superintendent of Schools in St. Johnsbury.