Last week I finished reading a book called The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver. It was a book I found compelling and thought provoking. I found it hard to get into but it grew on me as I read it. It is a novel set in Mexico and the USA during the first half of the twentieth century but it covered topics that resonate with and are relevant to our time now, including descriptions of life under quarantine due to a polio epidemic
“The quarantine began at 1 am Monday, closing movie houses, skating parlors, swimming pools, and other public sites … This city of 50,000 souls is as quiet as a grave, as housewives stay home from shopping and our businesses and resorts see profits stolen by the epidemic”
How are you? and How have you been? are the questions I asked myself as I reflected on and reviewed the last four months.
Without question this has been a time of lament. Tragically this tiny virus has cancelled and curtailed life directly and indirectly around the globe and continues to do so. Just one example, in this country cancer patients have had appointments, scans and treatments cancelled or postponed, sometimes with devastating consequences, including for people known to me. Predictions suggest there will be many more extra cancer deaths over the years due to the pandemic which could have been prevented which is completely heartbreaking.
In the UK the ‘lockdown’ has been gradually eased and collectively and as individuals we have continued navigating a new normal in this unfamiliar territory. No one knows where this part of our life journeys will take us but I am going forward with a sense of gratitude for the life I have had this summer.
During the last four months I have seen and spent time with my closest family members, children, parents, siblings, nephews, nieces, many for the first and probably only time this year. We made the most of our time making memories in our socially distanced garden get togethers. I enjoyed spending time in the garden with our dog. She was part of our family for about 11 years and she was the most faithful and wonderful companion.
Baking and cooking
I enjoyed baking and cooking … until I started developing new curves!
We are blessed to have a garden and I loved being in it this spring and summer. I enjoyed watching all the birds, especially our summer visitors, the swifts. At dusk I enjoyed watching the bats and the dragonflies and spotting the hedgehog￼(s?). I enjoyed growing flowers, chillis, tomatoes and lettuce from seed. Planting and nurturing, watching them grow. Harvesting and eating my homegrown produce. I enjoyed lying on a hammock bought in an end of season sale many years ago that I found in the garage loft. I’ve also enjoyed floating on a lilo in the tiny 8 x 5 foot paddling pool which had been reduced to such a low price that I had to buy it which is also just about long and deep enough at 2ft to swim in with a tether! I also loved our small water feature. I enjoyed sitting out on warm evenings in the candlelight. I enjoyed watching the moon and the stars, I enjoyed lying under the stars in my recliner to watch the Perseid meteor shower.
Countryside and beaches
As lockdown eased I enjoyed walks in the local countryside and the beauty and familiarity of it. I enjoyed noticing the changes through the season and I enjoyed seeing the wildlife. I enjoyed walks on the beach.
I met with friends and more recently small groups in our gardens. I also enjoyed being able to keep up and meet people online, including new groups of people. I loved the opportunity to access, connect with others and participate in a wide range of activities at home, including church, conferences, festivals, live streamed exercise classes and music events as well as support groups.
On reflection, I enjoyed the simple things this summer and I feel blessed and know I am privileged to have been able to have this time. I had the space to learn how to look after myself more. It helped me think about what is important to me and what isn’t. It helped me understand what makes me tick, who I am.
How are you? How have you been?
A photo taken on an early morning trip to the beach …