Summer is almost over, the weather is turning towards autumn a little bit. I’m sitting at home in my garage, looking at the back garden recovering now from the unusually sustained heatwave we had a few weeks ago. Where there were bare patches and scorched grass and moss, new blades are sprouting up from the seeds I sowed a little over a week ago. The weather has been wet and warm, perfect for a last minute lawn repair.
It’s hard to believe we’ve been in various states of lockdown since March 23rd of this year. At the start, time seemed to stand still under unusually good Spring weather and blue skies, whilst we struggled to understand the new face of reality.
But before long the weeks starting rolling by, one by one as we listened to confusing messages from our leaders, and parents and children had somehow partially adapted to working from home. We had the occasional across-the-fence drinks with neighbours, made all kinds of video conferencing calls with friends and relatives. We imagined we would suddenly have time to spend quality time with our kids, maybe learn a new language or skill. Much gardening and fixing of all those todo items around the house.
But gradually it was apparent that things were taking a toll. The kids were having trouble sleeping, and were irritable, as were we. The same old routines and being stuck within a few miles radius was really tedious. We were being responsible, but how long could we go on without spending time on what matters most: face-to-face social interaction with our friends and families.
Gradually things opened up a little bit. We dared to meet other kids and parents in the local park as long as the adults at least observed the 2 metre rule. Then we could have a few people round. Now we have bubbles we can hang out in, but you can also go out into bars and restaurants. We even dared to go on holidays abroad. Schools are due to open soon, much to everyone’s relief.
Now we face an uncertain autumn and wintertime. There will be outbreaks, but how big? What about all the other seasonal flu outbreaks? Can we keep going without totally shutting down again, or starting and stopping like a bus with a bad clutch? What about the economy and people’s jobs and homes?
There’s an ever-present sense of dread, uncertainty, whilst at the same time the news is full of examples of complete lack of leadership, trust, competence, decency, morals, and general decay. Where’s the vision? How can I help?
I’m trying to stay positive but it’s hard. I think there’s an opportunity here for us all to question what we think is acceptable, and perhaps shape a future for everyone that is fair and fun to live in. The hard part is knowing what to do, and how to bring everyone along for the ride.