The last week has brought a myriad of feelings – anxiety, contentment, fear, comfort, positivity, helplessness, happiness. Stories that are not mine to tell mean that there has also been shock – and sadness – too. The devastation wreaked by Covid-19 seems to creep a little closer, reminding us that statistics are not statistics – they are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, friends, neighbours, soulmates. I lean further away from news cycles, understanding they have little to offer us. Schools are closed, we are in lockdown, the grim death toll keeps rising. Until those situations alter, we carry on as best as we are able – being obedient, doing the things that are asked of us, loving each other, helping others where we can.
It snowed on Friday, an odd reminder of how quickly the world flips over. Spring opened its doors to April, and in rolled a carpet blanketed in white. We drank coffee on the patio, watching the kids build a snowman in the garden, seagulls cawing out above us in apparent confusion. The daffodils turned their faces away, looking defeated and strangely embarrassed by the world. I worried about the lambs in the fields and those who are not safe in safe havens and even about ourselves for a while. The snowman smiled back cheerfully at me, as if he knew something I didn’t, before the sun came out, and he slowly disappeared. The stones that had punctuated his smile fell one by one to the ground, until all that was left of him was a hat, a scarf, five pebbles and a carrot. He was a casualty, stolen by the sunshine, while we were the fortunate ones, left to linger in the warmth.
Over the weekend, I did some shopping for vulnerable people in our neighbourhood. It helps, I think – that act of actually helping, but I did wonder why we had not reached out to those in need in our neighbourhood before. I made bread, in a breadmaker consigned to our loft for the last decade, and cobbled together with out-of-date yeast and flour well past its ‘best before’ date. All the same, it tasted wonderful – or so I was reliably informed by three males who devoured it in jammy doorstop blocks. I wanted to hold on to that feeling of making the best of things, to carry it into the future with us like a beacon. Of making do, of reaching out to help others, of being perfectly content with small things, of feeling the echo of a past generation’s spirit – an echo that still lives in us, I think. Those echoes speak to us now, showing us the path we can still choose when we find our way out of the tunnel we find ourselves in. They were there when I woke up this morning, to a blue blanket of sky, my shadow laid out before me in the sun.
Telling us to learn, to change, to remember.
And reminding us to look beyond the shadows, to the place where Winter turns to Spring.