There’s a grinding reality to the death toll, and grey mornings don’t help the anticipation of the latest ‘figures’, one person every five minutes was the last headline that caught my attention before bed last night.
That one person is everything to so many others, and consequently the misery mounts exponentially as the virus multiplies.
We’re trying to balance the news, with other things, and walking out has always been a pleasure, so today we went looking for blossom and newness, searching for the craft of spring that sucks the grey light back in to the darkness and begins to spin colour and gentle possibilities.
There’s also warmth in the drying of the land, and the shading of mud that was otherwise as dark as teak only a week or two ago. These discoveries such as they are, stem from the routine of walking a familiar route, repeatedly for weeks and years, and these subtle differences feel like a vital presence at the moment.
We saw people at a distance and of course made distance when people passed. Not long ago few of these people were here, the shore road was often ours and we wondered to ourselves whether this habit will last, when compulsory exercise is no longer the only freedom from inside.
A long time ago I worked in a prison as an administrator, and was thankful everyday to leave behind the doors, and limitations, the felt loss of freedom that work signifies for many young people, but particularly the feelings induced by work in a prison. It felt clear to me that this ‘loss of liberty’ was far more profound than tabloid hacks realised. Those journalists proclaiming to angry readers the injustice of someone watching television when locked up twenty three hours a day. The absence of control, the loss of a future excepting that determined by others, the realities of a lockdown with no outdoors.
This time then, whilst otherworldly, is conditioned by the absence of something, stay at home to save the NHS, fight without fighting, win by doing nothing. It occasionally feels like a zen quest led by politicians whose only analogy is to invoke war, but we are not fighting, we are caring.
We walked for an hour, maybe longer and came home, and the sun was drifting in again.