After so many months of navigating an ever-changing pandemic landscape of worries, warnings, restrictions, and rules, I think it’s safe to say most of us are feeling pretty damn depleted. The low-battery warnings that lit up in our minds and bodies months ago can’t be easily solved with a charger cord and outlet.

So we’ve figuratively hit Dismiss, closed all but the most essential apps, and carried on, trying to conserve the energy stores we had left.

And now, just as we’re teetering at 1% battery power, the boosts we’ve needed have arrived: Vaccines! COVID case counts dropping! The end of the school year for harried parents, teachers, administrators, and students! And the arrival of a sweet Comox Valley summer!

As I wrote this introduction in late May, I was sitting inside a coffee shop for the first time in weeks, maybe months, almost overjoyed by the simple act of walking indoors and ordering food “to stay.” The appreciation of everything I took for granted in the Before Times is a powerful source of energy, and, as things open back up, I plan to tap into that energy as often as I can.

As always, this issue is a celebration of the incredible place we call home. We hope the stories bring you fresh energy, so that when we return to “normal” (maybe by our fall issue?), you’re at 100% battery and eager to take on the world again. Hence our theme for summer: Recharge.

Our summer lineup includes invigorating adventures by sail, raft, and tube. We take an energizing look at big initiatives like fighting homelessness, joining forces to improve our parks, and protecting local forests. We profile change-makers, teachers, farmers, helpers—and tiny toads just trying to make it from one side of Cumberland to the other.

We let you in on compelling destinations like the Island’s amazing alpine areas, Merville’s peaceful McLoughlin Gardens, and Gold River, a not-so-far-away gem. Maybe you can add them to your list of things to love about summer on the Island.

Enjoy the read, along with the long, sun-drenched days ahead—the best recharging tool of all.