During this unprecedented crisis and opportunity I enjoy the sea. The sea in Cornwall continues to be a steady ground when distorted thinking looms its ugly head. The water cleans the barnacles of confusion in my mind. Does it sound unrealistic, escapist or selfish? Local Cornish women and men swim in the rain and cold, sometimes with rolling waves. It is supposed to be good for the immune and inflammatory systems. The soothing rhythm of water when it hits the sand, rocks, seaweed, the rhythm of push and pull that is primal unleashes anxieties and fear.
Twice a day walking also helps keep the mind clear. Suddenly I didn’t have to fill every minute with tasks or projects. There is time to breathe cleaner air. Smiles from strangers who were out for their daily permitted exercise. Finally I finished reading Middlemarch and am happily surrounded by books galore where I can pick and choose rather than click and collect. Was it Jim Brewer, later attributed to Groucho Marx, who said, ‘Aside from a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside a dog, it’s too dark to read’?
Everyone, it felt like the whole world stopped.
Mother Earth spoke, did I hear her?
Each day was different and the same, shopping with a mask, wearing glasses and continually sanitising hands and surfaces challenged everyone while juggling backpacks, shopping trolleys or bags. I am grateful for time to reflect, look, listen to all sounds usually silenced by traffic, motor vehicles, and airplanes. I enjoyed cleaner air, less pressure to produce, along with stress of universal problems of unemployment and economic collapse.
A month flew by like a week. ‘Surviving the day with a level head’ became my mantra.
Thank you to the generation who lived during WW2 as they know what it was like then: how to be focused, courageous and steadfast in the midst of chaos and death. The older generation gave inspiration to continue believing that we can get through this together.
Never before have I written so many phrases, addresses, outlines, titles, prayers and appeals to a higher power. Books I grab without looking if they were meant to be for journals, a blank paper is enough to hold fleeting thoughts. Last but not least, yes, there is the medicine of laughter, song and art in the midst of unprecedented sadness, grief and loss.
Volume 35 no 4 March – April 2021