November 2020
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“Pandemic Perspectives”
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Postscript: A Pandemic Perspectives Sampler
Let the countryside go for a walk inside you A sampler of quotes from the Pandemic Perspectives thread, complied by Helen from the words of all the contributors … Then the traffic stopped and the planes stopped and the workmen stopped. Took a breath. I exit the lane on an early run. My mother tramped these same hills from childhood. The village lies silent, all walks of life put on furlough at the end of March. Other walks emerge. Walking past the Railway Inn Padlocked door, I miss my gin! And then a pause and in the pause: gulls, then crows, then magpies, then wood pigeons, then starlings then blue tits took turns testing the silence. Clapping our support for the NHS. The moon peeping through the fattening buds on the horse chestnut, silhouetting them against steely twilight: sad place, peaceful but anxious. The breeze found its voice again, hidden among young leaves. Found insects under the rocks. Another week. Dandelions have turned into clocks. A WhatsApp group is set up for our street. Fewer cars whizzing by. Clear blue skies - could this be why? Turning left after the poultry farm, and skooshing through the water at the ford, re-seeing the beauty of the place I live. Turn yourself inside out then in again. Wonder if we will still be doing this when the autumn leaves are falling. Across the river, up past the equestrian centre, push on up the hill, past the quarry pausing for breath to take in the breathtaking views No planes flying high above, Cleaner air, what's not to love? A drawing of somewhere I had been or something seen: two hollows which flood every year. Poppies still bloom every year despite the farmers’ best efforts. Call it the corn field, Wimpey field or the pylon field - its interesting edges became special, pacing muddy boundaries watching the wheat grow, nature bursting into life as winter dried and the playpark opened. We’d travelled too fast to appreciate the lanes, unexpected creakings and rustlings in the trees: the birds are gorging themselves. As if set in stone on concrete the deer locks eye with me, wary then turns tail. Zigzag attempts to avoid close contact. Two-metre distance what an existence. Back to the shadowlands of the Water of Leith. Upstream over the roiling shallows where half the river bubbles over stones and shingle, while on the right-hand side it’s dark brown and deep, I waded back to the bank and started to shiver. Our cycling days over, the thing that has kept me going is to keep walking and drawing. How will I still visit when my legs no longer take me? Don a virtual reality headset and direct my avatar across to Glencorse. Time slides forward. Conkers, coronavirus-like, are carried off by squirrels to be hidden somewhere and grow anew. My map and attached art work more or less tell the story: a rooted community. With huge thanks to all contributors.
Helen Boden 01