Today, the eighth day of lockdown was intentionally quiet for me because I needed time to recover from the stress of yesterday and rebalance. To help me achieve a sense of calm I avoided the news altogether. I’d been rationing it anyway because I’d begun to notice how my heartbeat quickens when I read about deaths and more deaths, or when I look at the maps with the dots on the globe and see the pattern of the disease advancing and when I read about increasing human suffering and there being no end to it with still more and worse to come with the predicted collapse of the global economy. That is the daily diet in the conventional news streams and I don’t want it anymore. I find it unhelpful.
In some sense there is a disjunct between the news reporting and what I see when I look out the window. Another day of golden weather. Another day of balmy temperatures and mellow light. Another day where the view from under the avocado tree over the green hedges, their small orange flags flying, is soft and lovely all the way to the sea. Reassuringly when I venture outside into nature I find it to be the same as it was yesterday and the day before that, and the one before that, and that.
Yesterday after my return from the Covid-19 test I sat outside in the afternoon sun. Gradually I noticed that I’d slipped into a reverie. I wasn’t quite sure, in that moment of realisation, where my mind had drifted but I found that it was quiet in there. I had zoned out. Then I saw what had taken my attention. It was a silent shadow play on the ground at my feet created by the angle of the sun on the avocado tree overhead. Branches were being projected onto the concrete like a drawing. The lines of this whimsical upside down tree were soft and blurred, as though they’d been drawn in charcoal, not pen.
Today I’ve been aware of shadows everywhere, falling across paths, projecting onto walls and hedgerows, passing over my own body even. I’ve stopped and observed their movement, a slight oscillation, a delicate vibration and been touched by the beauty. I’m on the lookout now for autumn shadows...