Day 39 of lockdown. Rain. Drenching the landscape, filling the sea. Down at the harbour’s edge it was driving hard on the vertical stirring the grey water, pushing white flecked waves from left to right in dynamic motion. Close to the surface a swirling haze spun, distorting the view of the shoreline, the hills, the causeway on the other side, muting colours and blurring landforms into mysterious shapes. And the wind. Roaring. Shrieking. Whistling round the eaves. Blowing under the doorframe into the kitchen when I was cooking tonight. It’s been like this for two days and two nights now. A mighty tempest shaking the house, bending the trees. It surprises me how the physics of nature continues to provide the weather patterns and seasons — tropical storms in the north, crisp temperatures and frost in the southern regions, mushrooms appearing in the grass in the park next door, leaves turning golden, scarlet, maroon, telling us it is autumn in New Zealand while elsewhere on the revolving planet gentle spring has arrived bringing warm sunshine, coaxing trees into tender leaf, flowers into bud— during the time of coronavirus. An odd statement but then so is the situation we find ourselves in shut in our homes, separated from those we love, unable to venture far. This is not normal. Everything feels strange and unnerving. It surprises me that the natural world carries on the same as usual, oblivious, it seems, to our plight.
I got absolutely drenched on my walk today but wouldn’t have missed it for anything. My shoes were sodden at the end and I limped the last section with a blister on my heel. I should have worn my socks. But none of that mattered. It was such a relief to escape the confines of the dwelling and to be out in the wild weather. Wind buffeted my body, water poured down my rain jacket and I felt alive. And even better I was not alone because I have to say I am growing heartily sick of my own tedious company. Today I thought it would be good to swap my life with somebody else’s and try inhabiting a different reality. Anything to relieve the monotony of the current unlikeable situation.
Being with a blessed walking friend, —that’s how I think of her, as a blessing — catching up on an entire week of living in the time of the coronavirus gave me the diversion I craved. I was hungry for news, curious to know about her week on the front line in public health, dealing with the twisting path of this unreasonable virus. Together we talked about the six new cases as we went down to the beach and took shelter under a dripping Moreton Bay Fig. And there our attention was diverted away from the worries to a glorious spectacle directly in front of our eyes. Surfers wrangling their kites in the choppy sea while further out in the channel two champions were whipping along, tousling with their kites, play fighting it seemed with the elements. It looked so good.