It has now been nearly 60 days of lockdown in the UK due to Covid-19.
Initially, it all started with a fear of not getting the basic necessities. The shops were not able to keep up with the increased demand of people buying to stock up their homes. This fear ran parallel with so many other fears – known or unknown; the bigger fears giving way to the more trivial ones.
Will I be alive? Will I lose my loved ones? Will I have a job tomorrow? Why aren’t my children going to school? When are we going to see our family and friends again? When can we freely do what we like again? When can we shop and eat out again? When can we go on a holiday again?
It soon transcended that the virus did not have any limits and has the potential of devouring any of us, young or old; healthy or otherwise. Country after country was entering a phase of “lockdown”, “curfew” or a “quarantine”. The earth was shimmering its lights down entering a period of darkness just as the night lights flicker down when the evening draws near.
We all had no choice but to enter this phase that was full of uncertainties, hence taking day by day. Many were the sad news that touched us, many others that scared us. We tried to grapple with this new life as best as we could; staying away from our loved ones to protect each other, keeping distance from our friends and neighbours, filling our cupboards not knowing for how long and prepping our homes to be offices and schools at the same time!
When was the last time we cared about others, not because we wanted to but because we were scared for our own lives? While the number of people who either lost the battle to this pandemic or got seriously ill might just be a simple statistic for many, let us not forget that each single case has emotionally broken their loved ones.
Some said that we are in a sense in the same boat, yet this storm is affecting each of us in many different ways. There are those of us whose jobs were lost or have been threatened; whilst there are other jobs that are thankfully flourishing. There are those in professions at the front line, braving the storm having no choice and those of us in care homes (already very isolated) feeling even more alone. There are some of us who are worried about getting a slot next week for an online delivery of groceries and some of us daily earners who simply cannot afford to buy and stock for later days. The perspectives are alarmingly wide.
Nevertheless, isn’t it good to have this perspective that we are in effect blessed to be safe, away from harm’s way; unlike those who are fighting from the frontline? As we attempt to re-assure ourselves and our children amidst the chaos and the uncertainty, we pin our hopes on various dates for a return to normalcy.
However, would normalcy be as normal as it was when we left things? Seems highly unlikely – be it for good or worse. In UK, the lockdown allowed families to go out once a day to neighbourhood areas for exercise and positive wellbeing; there were some other countries where even this was not allowed.
As we ventured out to our so well frequented parks and strolls, awkwardly keeping the distance of passers-by, we could not help noticing the immense beauty and charm of nature surrounding us. There were certainly many more flocks of deer, horses, birds and butterflies roaming, as if they are rejoicing with Mother earth for the calm there is. There was a lack of the usual rush of motors and humans. Could it be that whilst we were being sheltered, nature has flourished? It could also be that we have time to actually appreciate the wonders and flows of nature around us.
Flock of Deer at Richmond Park
Just as the evening carries on and there are many stars along with the glory of the moon that shine light so brightly through the grimness of the whole night – we start to hear many stories and see many sights that are constant reminders of hope and courage.
Strangely although living in a bubble, we start seeing many positives. We have more time to do what we love and take things slow. We write, we paint, we play, we bake, dust away old passions or take on some new passions. We learn to teach or grapple with teaching kids! We feel as if we are getting to know our families at a totally different level, closer, more eye to eye rather than as if passing ships in the night.
We take time to see and applaud the bravery of those working tirelessly for the sick, the vulnerable. We work hard together to combat the virus with many new inventions and theories. For once we feel we are all in this together in some form or other – if others are not safe, neither are we. At last in a world that is blurred with tug of wars – perhaps a sense of togetherness based on a common sense of purpose has finally arrived?
As we try now to step out slowly, albeit cautiously, out of that bubble that we have been cocooned in and return to ‘new normal life’ – we now know what we must not take for granted and what we must appreciate above the daily grind. The next birthday we have with our loved ones will be that much sweeter, the next dinner, or coffee we have with friends will be that much more intimate, the next hug or kiss we have with our friends will be that much warmer. Every human interaction will be that much more meaningful.
Just as a flower survives the rain but uses it to grow, so must we hold on to all the learning so that we can grow to a better future. Just as our bodies have hopefully grown some immunity to this virus, we hope our minds have been set with the right perspectives to know what is really important in life. The world we left behind must give way to a better world and this is up to each and every one of us to make this happen either in thought or action.
The road to recovery is full of uncertainty but we need to revisit and constantly refresh our hopes at each pit stop. We need to have faith that this period of healing – no matter in whichever name it has come in – is an absolute necessity, not just for us but for Mother Earth as a whole.
While the battle continues, we shall overcome and be better for it!
View of River Thames from Richmond Hill