It's Tuesday, April 7, 2020, and I'm in Covid-19 lockdown. We refer to our little farmhouse as the South Oxon Isolation Unit, at least that's the title of our Whats App group. There are four of us here; me, my beloved, my daughter and his daughter, and two dogs. The sun is out. The windows are open. There is loud and joyful birdsong. There is a bunch of daffodils on the window sill by my desk and a copy of Jerry Saltz's "How to Be an Artist."
I am exhausted. I haven't slept properly in a week and last night was a personal record; three hours may have been it. I know perspective has been skewed and I'm back to walking out in it, hoping for redemption or at least a balm. Not hard to do, not hard to walk among the blossoming hedgerows along springy green paths. Not hard to look at blue skies and feel the sun on your face. Certainly a very easy way to quarantine, if you have to. It seems quite wrong to complain at all about anything when the harrowing stories of those on the frontlines, in the hospitals, the emergency service workers, the volunteers, the doctors and nurses, who are risking their lives every single day, and who may not see their children again.
Sleepless nights are spent reading the New York Times and the Washington Post, trying to glean some meaning out of all of this. I am struck by Arundhati Roy's piece in the Financial Times which ends like this:
Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to “normality”, trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality. Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it."Or we can walk through lightly...ready to imagine another world."
Take care, everyone, wherever you may be on this planet of ours.