2020 seems to have been a roller coaster with the whole year so far living in un-certainty, we watched in the first few weeks as the whole of China were in face masks and waiting to see whether they could contain the virus. By January 22 it had spread to Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, and the United States and we all watched on as China went into a lock down. As we look back at the last 4 months it’s hard to comprehend, in fact its hard to remember all that happened outside this virus in our minds, do we member the fires that raged in Australia and the horrors of the affected wildlife that touched everybody’s souls, it seems such a long time ago, a sort of haze in the memory, but it wasn’t! Most people knew inside that something had to change, we were causing too much destruction to our planet but many people have forgotten already within a few short weeks, the fires were not extinguished until March!
2019 saw fires raging for more than 5 months in the worlds largest forest in Siberia destroying an area larger than Greece, the Boreal Forest is larger than the size of China and India put together! California also suffered ravaging fires for months and the burning down of rainforests and clearing of lands for palm oil still went on without opposition. However most people do remember the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, its strange how our minds remember and forget events, maybe its because its hard to face up to and comprehend the effects this huge amount of smoke was accumulating and the disastrous effects on pollution, ecology and the land. This virus has been like no other, not only has it been a physical problem it has taken over our minds, media, social media and most conversations, it has changed our lives from the status quo and false securities we once held. Maybe one major factor of shutting down our lives has been to slightly balance the extreme pollution levels we were experiencing after the earth seemed to burn for a year and our own excessive man made pollutants, Mother Earth will always heal herself! When we come out of this, will the majority still remember the lessons we were learning and seeing while all the fires raged and animals died in their millions, the rise in climate change awareness? Or will we come out with amnesia as the virus holds onto our minds and erases what was once important trivial things in life, can we still remember and hang on to the major issues that were important and necessary to address?
After yesterdays announcement that from May 2 adults will be able to leave isolation for individual exercise, we wake this morning to local government proposing letting small businesses like shops, hairdressers and nail salons open their doors again on May 11, May 25 as the target date to get Andalucian bars and restaurants back up and running, to allow funerals without a wake to take place from May 18 but stressing that the region needs to ‘activate freedom of movement with caution’. Our exit date from Isolation is nearing, the day we were all waiting for, but now we find ourselves a little apprehensive and with many mixed emotions. Yesterday children were let out for the first time, but instead of a rush to the streets, beaches and parks as portrayed in some news reports I have read today, showing photos of them all gathered together, this has not been the case. Firstly they are only allowed out for 1 hour and must be accompanied by a parent with the same restrictions as adults, no stopping to talk or socialise! Children could be heard outside yesterday but not in the volumes portrayed and certainly not gathering together, I think parents are a little apprehensive, they don’t want to instill fear into their children but also want to keep them safe, face masks for children are nearly impossible to find. The worry that they touch the ground and things around them, then touch their faces is heavy, all after nearly 4 months of the parents being fed constant fear. Now suddenly they are expected to just relax overnight, a mothers nature is to be protective and they will proceed with caution.
Speaking to many people this marker of relaxing the restrictions is bringing a feeling of relief but not the joy they expected, instead it feels like we are only moving from the 1st stage into the second which has the potential to have a much wider effect on so many. Businesses will reopen but people wont have the money to spend to keep many including bars and restaurants open, these businesses may well not survive with many losing their livelihoods. The world has hardly recovered from Austerity measures these last 10 years with many on the breadline this whole period, now governments have spent billions they didn’t have over the last months which will all need paying back, so people fear more cuts and much harsher conditions on the horizon. So peoples feelings are mixed as they wait in hope but with no expectations knowing we are on a cusp and not knowing which way things will go.
I find myself having mixed feelings too as we step out into the unknown waiting to see in which direction, in what feels like our new world will take. I feel it will be up to all of us to make our own choices and work towards what we long for in our hearts, which probably is not without opposition. I will also miss the many online events that I have thoroughly enjoyed and also learnt a lot from, some artists and speakers have appeared daily or regularly inspiring hope, but soon they will all disappear back into their daily lives and we will be left having to find our own way once again. They have been truly inspirational and comforting during these times for which I am truly grateful, I am sure we have all been drawn to different people, finding the ones that truly resonate with our own ways of thinking, so after nearly 2 months of daily cyber contact with them it may feel like losing a good friend.
My first pleasure will come from a walk next week finding freedom once again even if only for an hour a day, my second will be to see my son maybe the week after whom I miss terribly, my daughter though I will have to keep on missing terribly for a while longer until travel restrictions are lifted and flights are available again. I pray it wont be too long to wait but I have just read that when flights do return there will be a quarantine period of 14 days for people returning back to the Uk, so again its all part of the uncertainty ahead that eats away under the surface. It is time to prepare ourselves mentally for the second stage to come, keeping an open mind and not losing sight of our hopes for the future, time to keep an eye on what else has or may be happening around our globe which has gone under the radar and a time to find others who’s goals are similar to our own. Its time to unite, not stay in our own isolated minds and start to work together for a fairer more caring world working with nature not against her and considering the well being of all its inhabitants.
I have sat here listening to many bikes or cars pulling up outside this morning, much more than I have heard for months, with each one I have been expecting a packet to arrive, my cloth face mask ready for next weeks adventures, a white cats mouth and nose and a sparkly one! The choice was so limited so I decided to go on the verge of silly, but will I dare to wear them? Probably, at this stage I wont really care what others think and I hope it brings a smile. Please stay safe and take precautions to protect yourself and loved ones including taking care of your mental health 💜