Life carries on as normal, except all the decorations are removed. Like a Christmas tree pine left without baubles …
Change from Fair, our barometer tells us. So what’s new? Level Two should be pretty easy to manage, even when festooned with frustrated plans and schemes.
Cancelled gathered events and participations are removed from the calendar. Celebrations crossed out.
Time both concertinas at the same time as it widens. The future promises a different day, a different season for the promised get togethers of all varieties. Life carries on as normal, except all the decorations are removed. Like a Christmas tree pine left without baubles, all the better to see its form and plain sense of existence.
Life quietens. You try not to show your annoyance, your disappointment, you reach for what patience hasn’t yet been used up. You resist buying more toilet paper than is necessary.
You find which supermarket aisle the face masks are located. You balk at the price. $50.00 for a box? But you need them. You are planning a ride on a bus. And home-made ones have become too ‘bandwagon-y’. You tend to avoid anything that turns ‘bandwagonish.’ You’ve always preferred to walk rather than take the hay wagon ride.
You scope your sights down. Marvel at the winter rose that bloomed, despite its winter-yellowed leaves and sad demeanour, its starved bowed head under the lean of rain. Like a horse without its winter blanket. You were sure that winter rose would not rise, that it was gone. Dead. But just look.
I was pleased to see the poem posters Dunedin Library kindly made for the New Zealand Poetry Day event (sadly cancelled). On fuschia background there’s my poem about houses hugging a hillside and the kindness of engineers and builders who built them. These shelters. These constructions equivalent to warm architectural hugs. And hopefully will help readers to spare more than an associated thought for the homeless. The young ones struggling to buy their first home …
I look at my own home, its shabby windows, its walls long overdue a paint or new wallpaper. I look out the kitchen windows unchanged since the late sixties and ponder on how much of life becomes a habit until change arrives and you enter memory and regret and a longing for things that will never be again. You think if only I’d realised that at the time, when the memories were present moments that I thought would last forever. Like times spent in parental homes before they died and the home was sold and memories scattered like released homing pigeons. The kaleidoscope of life turning dragonfly shapes into butterflies into daisies into church windows into stained glass into bubbles …
And I think how comforting in such billowy times to have momentum and habit and order and a daily routine. Patterns and lines to follow. The safety of a dish rack full of washed dishes. Under a roof.
And logs and the smell of time that they give out. The wonder of fire. The very sustenance of it. Its contained leap. Its beauty. Succour. Contained fury. Its terrible embrace.
As I scan my environment for the comfort of the plain everyday among outside tumult, beset by pandemic waves and the necessity to take shelter, to protect, to shield, I try to pretend I don’t really care what happens. Whatever.
And take notice of sounds. I wonder, is there still such a thing as a Dunedin one? That cold rawness of loose guitar strings … maybe it’s still there if you listen. Maybe in the Town Hall clock (mended now – apparently the loss of chimes recently being due to metal fatigue … ). No not mental. But. Well. Understandable if it was.
Reading slows your life down, I find. Especially if you have research to do for a forty minute talk. (Forty minutes! I can’t hold my end of a ten minute conversation let alone hold court for four times that …) Putting my faith in Dan Davin and his tweed jacket and air of the Southland-Irish, to inspire me. (Hope he doesn’t ghost me.)
When your son who has drawn and / or painted all his life and provided art work … you at least have stuff to look at on your walls when inside all four of them. Which I am tending to be these days. Doesn’t really matter to me what Level we’re on. I can’t remember the rules. I prefer to take the easy way out and remain home, unless it’s absolutely necessary to leave. Of course. For example to buy eggs. Or go to a writing group. Or to the movies and dinner with my husband. But not all at once. Like I did. Oops. Blame it on Level Two paranoia. Or something.