There’s a feeling in the air as the weather (finally) warms up here in Northern Virginia. That feeling is the anticipation of summer – of sun, fun, barbecues and the Fourth of July. It’s just around the corner, and I can’t suppress my surge of happiness even though I know it won’t be a “normal” summer this year.
While my girls’ summer swim team has been canceled and the pool opening is in doubt, as a family we can still look forward to the warm weather, more outdoor time and the end of the “school” year, such that it is. We’re planning camping trips and a beach vacation, which may or may not make up for the canceled cruise.
I am grateful for this anticipation – this hope. Regardless of the limits around our summer fun, we can still have it. And regardless of the limits on how we can interact with our public power members, we can still connect. Because of this pandemic, our national conference had to be canceled for the first time in its history, but the APPA staff created a virtual conference – Public Power Connect. I am very much looking forward to it and hopeful that many of you will join to learn from and engage with each other.
While I am grateful that we can undertake a conference this way, I cannot deny that I miss seeing people in-person and hope that we can soon resume such meetings. There is something intangible, but very important, about seeing people “live” that enables deeper connection and allows for strategic conversations that are difficult, at best, to undertake virtually. At the same time, exploring the benefits of moving several of our smaller in-person events/educational forums to virtual meetings on a more permanent basis is prudent and could enable greater participation in the long-term. I am certain we can strike that balance once the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us.
As I was contemplating this blog this afternoon, my husband and I decided to take our dogs for a quick walk. At the entrance to our neighborhood, my husband and I came upon a fledgling mockingbird sitting in the middle of the road. I scooped it up and took it back to our house, where the dogs expressed great interest in what was in my hand. After feeding the insistently chirping toddler numerous live worms, we got in touch with our county wildlife manager who informed us that fledglings need to be left to their own devices – they do not do well being raised by humans. We retraced our steps (now with our girls in tow) to find a good place to release the bird out of the trajectory of the road. With both hope and trepidation, we let the little bird go.
As we make our way into summer (also known as hurricane and wildfire season in some areas of the country), public power utilities will continue to keep the lights on while also adopting new practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within their workplaces. I am infinitely hopeful that we are growing in our knowledge and ability to manage this crisis to the benefit of our customers, communities, and staffs. After the COVID-19 crisis has truly passed – whether via increasingly effective management strategies, treatments, or a vaccine – the knowledge, adaptability and innovation we have shown as public power just might allow us to “spread our wings” for our communities like never before. Hope springs eternal.