The irony of nature’s cure

Time to start writing again

Well my dear followers, it has been a while since my last post but what a great opportunity I have now that I have given up working at the university to start writing again.  I hope you enjoy these posts and that you manage to keep safe and well at a time when we are isolated and segregated from our friends and loved ones.

I begin with my initial response to the lockdown and show how acceptance and resilience are our friends in all this, and how fortunate we are in the UK, to be locked down when spring is breaking out.


It is day 7 in a locked-down Covid Spring.  Days 1 to 6 passed relatively easily.  I pottered in my garden, face-timed friends, cycled or took a walk to see the sunset and tidied up my kitchen cupboards; feeling positive and optimistic for a more loving and connected society in the aftermath.  All was well.

Then day 7 arrived.  The ferocious March gale howled around my house whistling through every tiny crevice, making my windows rattle.  Beyond these discordant sounds there lay an unnerving silence.  I am alone and the world outside has all but stopped: no cars, no voices, and no laughter, just this ill wind.  I pulled my duvet up to my chin and stared at the artex ceiling above by head;  a blank white canvas for my black thoughts.

What will become of society, I thought, as this plague strengthens its grip on humanity? Will poverty, hunger, isolation and desperation reveal society’s cracks like this howling gale?  Thought after thought spilled like confetti, until I eventually braced myself to step out beyond the warmth and sanctity of my duvet.  Time to start writing I thought.  I must be strong and more resilient.

Later that day, I donned my walking shoes and stepped out into the wilderness for my daily exercise.  Down the road, turn right, turn left down the ride, left again into the open fields towards the hamlet of Hinton St Mary; tedium setting in already as I sought my daily dose of nature’s cure.

Ironic, I pondered, battling to stay upright against a strong gust of wind that we so ardently believe that nature is our sanctuary.  Covid 19 is nature, another piece of evolution that we share this planet with.  A clever, manipulative and sinister life-form from which, at present, we cannot escape.  It is the smallest of all microbes with a core of genetic material that is surrounded by protein and protected  with a spikey coat by which it attaches to its human host.  It lurks on our skin, or in our breath, and waits for  its moment to enter our lungs to destroy us.  It’s a red evil looking monster but nature nonetheless.

In between the gusts of wind I can hear the rhythmic call of chiff chaffs and the feint hissy call of flirtatious blue tits.  A setting sunbeam bounces off the crowds of celandine that line my route. Despite Covid, I think there is much to be thankful for.

But then I come to a style and then a gate, and I feel the now familiar paranoia.  I stop.  Can I get over or through them without touching them?  Sadly not.  I pull my sleeves to cover my hands, as I do not want to pick up the scent of others or leave my own.  This is a necessary but abhorrent way to live.  I hope it is short-lived. Down by the River Stour I see other lone people walking out.  There is something aimless about their gate. Like automatons we side step to avoid each other whilst smiling and nodding a cheery hello; eyes sharing the strangeness of it all.

As the setting sun leaves a trail of light on the water, I quicken my step for home wondering how long it is before this becomes our norm.  Already my happy bustling life seems long ago and far away.