On day six of the lockdown I opened my blinds and my attention was caught by a brilliant orange flower, a cluster of tubular bells shining in the low morning light, from the green leafy hedge below my window. Tecoma capensis is it’s name, or more commonly it’s known as ’Cape Honeysuckle’, in reference to its South African origin. The orange flag drew my eye to the wider view, out under the avocado tree, over the rooftops to the gentle sloping incline of Rangitoto rising from a pale blue sea. The start of another new day in the time of Coronavirus.
***** Still I am adjusting to new sensations. I moved here at the end of February and since that time have been acclimatising myself to new daily rhythms and patterns of living for this is an entirely different reality to the one I knew before. This is not my home. I lost my home. My immediate environment, though very beautiful, is unfamiliar and many times smaller than the spacious home I once inhabited in what seems like another lifetime now. My possessions are locked away in storage on the other side of town and I’m existing on a limited palette of belongings. Frustratingly my books, archives and office equipment are out of reach and have been for the past nine months. This adds a layer of difficulty to my daily activities and forces me to be creative because I‘ve realised that in challenging times one must not dwell on what is gone. Rather one must adapt quickly and pragmatically to what is here, right in front of us, now. Oh but, but, but... I had thought when the mediation agreement was finalised that I would be able to begin again, that I would find a new home and start the process of settling in. I thought too that the worries would be over. The morning after the deal was done I expected to wake with a smile on my face, with the feeling of a great weight having been lifted from my chest. But that did not happen. Instead my intransigent mind began its customary sweep, ‘What do I have to struggle against today?’ it shouted. And then after just one day of delighting in the fact that the anxieties of the last two and a half years, since separation, were finally over I suddenly had a new batch of worry. Coronavirus arrived in New Zealand and our government began warning us of the sweeping measures about to come into place to protect us. We needed to start preparing for lockdown. ***** Again I come back to nature and its rhythms. Today from my solitary rocky nook above the park, I marvelled at the quiet and the stillness and how under the new silence the bird call is louder. They’re having their time now. I could hear the shudder of wings, the conversations. I never thought I would appreciate the chatter of the mynah birds. They’re much maligned here. But today I enjoyed the splutter and crackle, the vitality of their communion. It made me feel more alive, more part of nature and reminded me of the North American environmentalist Aldo Leopoldo and his writing on ’the land ethic.’ He wrote that ‘first human beings are animals and, second, we are animals among other animals, sharing our habitat with members of the biota that also have meetable needs and rights.’