Life in Isolation…
As we move into the very early stages of freeing up of Lockdown, I’ve had pause to reflect on what this time has meant for me.
In typical Pollyanna fashion, I’m looking for the prism of light.
To be honest, it’s been all of that.
I feel an extraordinary sense of guilt admitting to that, when I’m aware of how so much of the world has suffered and is still suffering. But let’s put it into perspective here in Australia.
Our State and Federal Governments were incredibly proactive. Borders nationally and statewide were shut very early and then our State Government bought in its own swathe of emergency legislation which effectively placed us in Lockdown and more.
Compared to the rest of the world, Australia has got off lightly to this point. To date, 7045 cases with 98 deaths, 6367 have recovered, 16 only are in intensive care and 50 are in hospital. In my home state of Tasmania, with a population of 500,000+, there have been 226 cases and 13 deaths. We usually have more of that from seasonal flu. So as I say, we’ve been lucky.
It’s worth noting that the largest percentage of cases nationally were owed to the unfortunate disembarking of untested passengers off a cruise ship, the Ruby Princess, in Sydney and which subsequently spread Covid-19 around the nation, including our own state.
Husband and self opted to isolate on the east coast where we have a big garden, beaches and isolated roads to walk upon.
One of the greatest boons has been that no one has been allowed to road travel, so that our village became a ghost town overnight, much more like my childhood when we walked and rode bikes and horses along dirt roads and beaches and rarely ever saw a holidaymaker.
I consider it such a privilege to have been able to relive that just once more in my lifetime. The calls of the birds have been louder, the clap of the waves on the beach more pronounced, the wildlife venturing closer. I’ve selfishly clutched that to me for the memory banks.
We’ve worked through a property and garden to-do list which with our other commitments would normally have taken all year. Now – with just under a month to go until we can freely road-travel again we’re making new lists. Not such a bad thing because it means we actively achieve!
The golden autumnal weather has been mostly conducive to staying outside (which means writing has been on the backburner) and trust me, sun and fresh air are worth a king’s ransom in these times.
I’ve ordered from plant catalogues and received parcels of bulbs, hellebores and other delights in the mail and have spent ages in the garden. We’ve eaten well – a large veggie garden has given generously. And how much better than repeated trips to the shops for food with all the risks that it entails!
I wondered if this is how my grandmother lived here in the early days of my mother’s life. Nanny had chooks, ducks, a prolific veggie and fruit garden, a good friend around the corner and a small general store down the road. And a pet seagull. Her life was gardening, cooking and caring for her family – always decked out in a floral pinny. And apart from the pet seagull, chooks and ducks, I’ve been chuffed to mirror her days.
I’ve spent an hour or so each day on my eleventh novel. Truth to tell, writing is the one thing that has been damaged by the virus – it’s been placed on the backburner in favour of being outside. See above.
We also made a deliberate choice very early, to continue seeing family. Our daughter and son still worked, fortunately, and our daughter-in-law is a pharmacist so she is frontline.
We opted to continue babysitting and it was perhaps the single most important thing we could have done. I’ve watched friends sink into depression at not being able to see their families at all and so sad when this is the time children really need their families and vice versa.
We took a risk and decided family was our very raison d’etre and that our mental health would owe everything to that continued contact.
That and being here, on the coast, with no one around…
And more than grateful.
Right now, at 10.45 AM, I’m off into a sunny day with the dog where I can breathe deep and seek peace.
May we all have that privilege soon.