Wow! How fast is all this. First thing I want to say is, stay clean. Wash hands, hair, clothes, door handles. Stay hydrated. Warm liquids are good apparently. Eat your veg. Get exercise. Breathe. Relax.
Yep. Like I’m doing all of those things. Well, I am doing most of them. The ‘relax’ one has been beating me though. We have been shockingly busy. That happens when you pack the better part of your worldly goods and move houses. Not that there’s many worldly goods. They fitted into our van. Too many for it to be easy though. Especially when your partner’s art requires bulky tools.
(For new readers of this blog, my husband and I lost our home, studios, and all of our possessions during the Cudlee Creek fires on 20th of December last year. Covid is in South Australia for the first time and no one understands it or it’s implications.)
We have moved for a while to a beautiful little shack in Middleton belonging to friends. The kids wanted us to isolate from the grandkids to try and keep us healthy.
The shack is just gorgeous, warm and cozy in a welcoming way, painted gorgeous rich colours with the quirks of a beach shack. We are SO grateful. It feels safe. Not sure how long we can stay because the owners are doing it tough too: adults trying to work from home, kids at school, but one of them trying to do year 12 with next to no internet access at their home. Here at least you can usually get three bars of phone coverage most of the day. Not in their part of the Adelaide Hills. There are some shocking black spots in them thar hills.
As for us, we aren’t going very well. I think I’m taking on the anxiousness of the world. This is the closest I have ever come to panic attacks. Also I feel pitifully sorry for my self and can’t stop crying. Walking in all this sea air helps. But I feel completely groundless. Like a vagrant. Which I guess I am. Homeless. But at least, presently, and unlike many, I can pay the bills. Also I do know that it will pass.
Ervin is feeling odd because he had a cataract operation eleven days ago and so has one eye that works and one that doesn’t. Needs glasses for reading and sunnies but his bifocals are not right. In fact none of them are right. We may fix that next week. Or he might need to have the other eye done quickly. Depends on whether his brain can adjust to it all. Don’t really want to go anywhere near a hospital at the moment. Also he is incredibly tired all the time. Heart specialist says he’s ok, so I guess it’s just the situation.
Apparently the worst of the psychological problems after trauma hits at 12 weeks or so. Yep. I have done amazing things in that time. But I really would like a home. I did expect to still be in my little house in the country, with my little veggie garden, when the pestilence came.
Because I’ve been expecting it. Actually let me share a poem:
Our Hold On the Planet
after Robert Frost’s poem of the same name
Robert Frost in a hey-ho mood
Nature is enamoured of mankind,
a little bit in favour, one percent or so.
His evidence is how our numbers grow.
Are spawned more likely, a fungus, a disease,
or that’s the way I see it — clearly,
in sharper focus now no mist can rise
below the baking sun, the hollow sky.
Crops die, ice melts, temperatures soar,
whole populations starve and some with more
dole out just a little, just enough
to make them feel most generous.
Meanwhile factories belch out the smoke
on which the world proceeds to choke.
If I were Nature I don’t reckon I’d be pleased
with my disease.
I’d be thinking to diminish human numbers —
perhaps the odd small natural disaster?
(That poem is in my latest book, Not Looking for Signs that I put together for the exhibition just past. It was published in a Friendly Street Reader a couple of years back too.)
The thing is, in that last paragraph, originally I wanted to use ‘perhaps a tinsy bit of pestilence’ instead of ‘natural disaster’ but I couldn’t do it with any poetic elegance.
My education o biology says you can’t have an exponential growth of a population without a crash. And I’m afraid 3% (expected Coronavirus outcome) probably won’t cut it if we keep using up our resources and shitting in our own backyard.
But! The canals of Venice are clear, with fish and swans! And in the four weeks prior to the 4th of March, CO2 emissions were 200 million tones less than they would have been! Perhaps that is a hiccup in the scheme of things. But why can’t we create good outcomes?
And also. What about kindness? Ervin and I experienced such kindness as a result of our losses. It was so heart warming. In this society now, we have a huge number of people doing it tough. It is shocking. They will be in shock, in trauma. These people will be changed forever. But one of the ways in which they will be changed is that they will develop compassion. And given that greed is one of our biggest problems, it will have some good outcomes. Also there will be more anger about the obscenely rich. Things will surely change. It only takes enough people,
There. I feel better now. Nothing like a good venting with a little post apocalyptic opptimism, to do the job.
But before I go I would like to say sorry. I’m sorry for anyone who ends up grieving because of this damned disease. And I’m sorry for everyone who is having trouble making ends meet. Please be kind to each other. Yes, we have to keep our distance. But let’s greet, let’s look into the eyes of each other (even perfect strangers), smile, and say, ‘I hope you are ok.’