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And while I have friends who have counted their blessings – precious time gifted with children that they might otherwise have missed – there are others who have been made acutely aware of their alone-ness and their loneliness.
And when I think that we have had little in terms of privation – what’s a trip to the shops or a swim in the pool? – the nature of relentless day upon groundhog day hints at what I had never appreciated – the punishment that is a prison sentence, what the absence of freedom means.
Sometimes, I worry that I have forgotten how to speak to others, how to connect.
Masks cover so much of the face, that it is difficult to recognise people. I’m hard of hearing and masks make me realise how much I depend on reading people’s lips to make sense of what they say.
If all this is a lesson, it is that there is a deep well of anger and I’m perched on the diving board.
For us, there have been no great changes – and nobody close to us has died of Covid. But the ripples of this pandemic will go on for years – down to the babies born that have never been cuddled by grandparents or children who have missed out on nearly a whole year of school.
Don’t make any big changes for a year, they say, but we are thinking of getting out and moving house. The three of us feel the walls coming in on us.
Maybe that’s why a new school for Spanish shepherdesses – as reported in the Guardian – is singing to my soul.
It is a move to curb the slow death of Spanish villages. Women have been abandoning rural life in their droves and leaving an ageing population in their wake, and could you blame them?
But now, in Spain, more women are keen to explore the shepherding life. Perhaps they want to escape the grind of urban life or they have overcome abusive relationships and want to find a new way of living.
They can bring their children to courses on beekeeping, cheesemaking, sustainable tourism. It’s a new, sustainable life. But it’s hard for me to imagine another life so removed from this.
Instead, I’m addicted to property porn, scanning websites imagining a house that is not the one we’ve been locked up in for over a year.
What this lockdown has taught us is that there are choices and there are blessings to count. Sad to confess that all the promises to use the time wisely came down to baking a lot of wheaten bread and walking a crop circle into the back garden.
Some girls are just born with swimming in their souls poster
The wisdom gleaned is in true appreciation of love given freely by sisters and friends.
It’s in savouring the peace in the here and now – the cream crawling to the top of the jug; the water lying soft in the cistern.