I’d like to write about how the sun feels resting lightly upon my face, after a year of being mostly cooped up within four walls (as we all were/are in this strange, plague-ridden time) and how the warmth reaches deep into my flesh and bones, touches my spirit and ignites a fresh, slow burning light. How the view from my windows, particularly the rear ones of our home, have given me succour during this time, to see and imagine the taste of freedom, like through a prison window. Except of course ours is a very gilded cage, and we share it together. Home.
The wide expanse of sky is currently a paint box gradient of blues with a few scattered rows of clouds like puffed up sentinels. The trees within and beyond the garden, leafless still yet towering, tall, stretching up their fingertips to the heavens with the tiniest buds appearing at those tips as reward. The birds flitting hither and thither, busying themselves collecting nesting materials; they remind me of dogs with sticks too big for their tiny bodies.
The dining table is resplendent with floral arrangements currently, two bouquets from loved ones for different reasons, and the scent pervades the house. Freesia, lily, so intense that I can still smell it at the far end of the house in my office. The colours and scents of them this morning stretched my lips wide in smiles, as if depicting a promise of Spring to come. The sun is keeping that promise today, welcoming us outdoors, even before we quite can, not safely just yet. Soon though… soon the flowers and air and world will welcome us back outside.
Vaccinations are progressing at speed, over half the UK adult population now. Soon it’ll be safer. We can return to our lives, release the hard pressed pause button, re-join our loved ones for those long awaited and desperately yearned for hugs and laughter once more.
Life without hugs, adventure, fun and laughter tastes decidedly bland. How fortunate are we who had that and will have it once again.
A year is a long time when you’re living it. Years pass in the blink of an eye; adulthood, children, grandchildren… and yet this one year has felt longer than many previous ones. So full of sadness, longing and missing, feeling trapped and fearfully hidden away, and for far too many, grieving and loss. It has indeed had that feel of Winter, the hunkering down and keeping warm, the comforts of warmth and the quiet of less busy-ness, the food and television, the phone calls instead of days out. The waiting for it to be over and for the sun to shine and the warmth to play and dance again.
Winter is passing us by at last, fading into a new Spring, a new hope, out of the depths of the great Winter of coronavirus, years 2020 and well into 2021.
How was your Winter? What are you most looking forward to in our Summer ahead? For me it’s about the holding of loved ones, the hugs, the cuddles and the touch. Wrapping my arms around those I love with all my heart, after a year of withdrawal, furtive conversations held stood apart, the joining of skin to skin again rather than the physically imposed divide of social distancing. Two metres is a world apart from the ones you love. Also for me is the yearning for travel and adventures again, the life beyond our own knowledge and experience, the holidays and trips abroad to see life through new eyes once more.
I’m aware of my enormous privilege. I have loved ones to return to and I can. I can travel. I know many have lost so much, or didn’t even have those things before this year-long Winter. So many have lost loved ones to this virus. So many have lost jobs and income, homes and relationships. So many will simply be wandering life as if in a post-apocalypse, picking up the pieces where they can, trying to rebuild from less than before, or nothing.
I wonder how the homeless fared. I wonder how poverty affected the weight and suffering of this hard year. I wonder how many people will have their own variation of war stories to tell their own grandchildren when they ask… what did you do during Covid19 granddad, or what was it like grandma? People will laugh and be baffled by the toilet roll fiasco. People will wonder what it could feel like to be separated from loved ones for a whole year, like wartime stories of children being sent away.
We were safe. We were home. We kept ourselves safe. But we did fear for our lives from time to time, just for the simple act of going to the shop to buy a loaf of bread.
It’s not actually war time for us… but it is for some in other parts of the world. For others, deprivation, poverty and geographical location, politics and societal systems will have all played a part in how people have had to endure this past year, and indeed, for some, it will continue for even longer, for them. For others, this was their last year on earth.
We are the lucky ones.
But fuck, that was damn hard, even so.