This evening when I hurried up the hill, through the glade of trees that hug the edge of the path that makes up my daily circuit, I was halted in my tracks by the behaviour of a pair of tuis. They must have been in love for they swooped, in a great rush of air, onto the branches of a kanuka tree, the male with his feathers fluffed out, the white bobble on his throat shaking. He was making a terrific noise while the female, noticeably smaller and more refined, landed on a branch just across from him and set up a sweet kissing sound, the pom-pom above her breast vibrating. They were communing, it was obvious. The male smoothed his feathers, I don’t know how this was achieved, and looked with interest at the female. He seemed to be adapting his voice to blend with hers. The loud clicks and clocks were replaced by something softer and more endearing. Transfixed I watched them a moment longer, until I felt I was intruding on something private. For the rest of my uphill walk I had a big, wide smile on my face.
This was good because the day had been a busy mix of work and making people contact on screen and for most of the time I had felt calm and resilient and more reconciled to the strangeness of the way we are presently living. The work was absorbing and the hours melted away. But still. By the time I began my walk there was something setting up a vibration in my chest, something drawing bad feelings in and making them swell. I think it had started during a video chat with my son and daughter.
I will say this. I MISS MY SON In Sydney. I really do. Seeing him today so handsome and present and alive but distanced from us on the screen, made my heart go bump, bump. I wanted to reach out and give him a hug. I wanted to tell him ‘this won’t last.’ I did tell him, ‘we’ll have you home when the baby comes.’ And I will say this as well. I MISS MY DAUGHTER and her pregnant bump. I want to watch them grow. I want to sit with her in a leisurely way, knitting needles clicking and at work on something for the baby, and I want to fully absorb the miracle that is the new baby growing in her womb but I can’t even knit in my bubble of one because my knitting needles are in storage. Instead I talked brightly. I asked questions. ‘What has surprised you, so far, in the time of Coronavirus? What has been hard?’ They were forthcoming, each describing the positive and the negative. And then a lovely thing happened. My son, the musician, played his latest electronic song in development and the sound was smooth and mellow and soothing and just what is needed in harrowing times. Maybe, I’m thinking, if I can try and stay focussed on the good they are each of them creating, perhaps then I will cope better with the separation.