Week one was about adjusting. It was filled with hot coffee as we watched the sunrise, novelty picnic dinners in the garden and cozy fires in the evening. We settled in, we got used to our new way of life.
The fear faded almost instantly after lockdown was announced. Life went from millions of confusing colours to plain and simple black and white with one news announcement. I thought it was lockdown that I was scared about but it turned out to be fear of the unknown. As soon as the unknown was taken away so was the fear.
We stopped worrying about work, resisting the temptation to just get take away pizza every night suddenly got a whole lot easier and we settled in to the reality of just staying home.
My biggest fear was for walking the dogs, the rule about not driving to exercise had me in a panic that I wouldn’t be able to get to a good track. One week down and I am yet to repeat a walk. We used the new rule as a challenge to explore our own neighbourhood. We found walking tracks near our house that we didn’t know existed, we discovered a huge field to play fetch in and we wandered the now abandoned streets.
We rediscovered our little town and discovered it all at the same time. It’s different but it’s still just as magical. The sleeping streets of Arrowtown don’t have an eerie abandoned feel to them, but instead they feel steeped in history, they are filled with age old wisdom, they have seen things like this before and they know they will see them again. Their quiet solitude is calming instead of scary. They are simply dozing in the autumn sunshine as they wait patiently for us to reappear and awaken them again.
I wonder if the people that return to them will be the same as the people who left them. Will the lockdown change us in the long term? Will we still appreciate our daily walks when we are allowed to use our cars again, will we keep waving at our neighbours and checking to see how people are doing?
I come to the last sip of my morning coffee as I ponder these questions. The coffee spell broken, I look up to see two blackbirds eating grapes from the vines on our deck. I see the sun illuminating the tops of the mountains in the distance. The white smoke from a neighbours chimney makes its way lazily upwards. The world is calm and still. Cars sit quietly in driveways, dogs no longer whine from loneliness in empty houses.
It’s far from silent though, the birds sing in the trees outside my window, the autumn leaves rustle in the breeze and my family are all snoring gently as the morning sun rises over the mountains and floods the living room at last. This is the new soundtrack to the day and it is beautiful.
We adjust, we learn, we adapt.
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