2nd May – Week 6
Sarah’s not here with me this morning as I begin the writing of this sixth lockdown letter from home. And that’s because even though it’s a Saturday she’s at a funeral, and will be at another tomorrow, another on Monday, and on they go. Busier than she’s ever been, along with all of her friends and fellow essential workers in the caring industry that most of us don’t even like to think about, until we have to.
Back here Saturday is still Saturday. Elizabeth Alker’s just finishing on BBC Radio 3 with Tara’s Theme from “Gone With the Wind’ and I’ve almost finished the week’s wash, whites in now. And how are you doing anyway? I’m much better his week, thanks. Much better than the depression I realised I was in when I wrote late week’s episode of this. Helped so much by the good wishes and empathy of so many of you who read these thoughts. It’s more than good to know we can be in touch here, in a time with so little touching.
Another thing that’s helped is that I’ve done a lot more walking this past week than I’d got into the habit of doing since the lockdown started. From early on Sarah and I would do late afternoon or early evening walks, and just round the block or our local park, The Mystery. And The Mystery is as lovely as its name suggests, most of this week’s photographs are from there. But the short walks and at that time of day simply weren’t enough for me, as it’s turned out. For my writing, my well-being and my normally peaceable outlook on life. Resulting in the stuttering of the PhD work I’ve mentioned on here before and, five weeks in, my descent into a depression.
Now I’ve done enough talking, reading and getting good counselling in my life to know that one of the causes of depression is anger. And I was and am angry. With the woeful leadership of our country just when we could do with some adults in charge, but also and simply with the situation. By last week I was in a suppressed rage about all of us being locked in and constrained for so long. A rage I was dutifully swallowing down and getting on with, until the writing on here and the help of friends began to help. Including some accidental help from Prince and Bruce Springsteen, which happened like this.
Along with his good wishes my friend Dave had sent me a link to a Bruce Springsteen song he thought would help. But the link somehow sent me to the wrong song. To Bruce and the band performing their live version of Prince’s “Purple Rain.” Before I’d quite realised this wasn’t the song my friend had meant I started listening for clues anyway, for why Dave had sent it? And when I got to the bit about ‘I only wanted one time to see you laughing in the purple rain’ I started to cry. But in that good way a child does when the hurt is nearly over. Consoled, calmed and comforted by the idea and the need to be outside and laughing, in the purple rain
“Honey I know, I know, I know times are changingPrince Rogers Nelson
It’s time we all reach out for something new
That means you too
You say you want a leader
But you can’t seem to make up your mind
I think you better close it
And let me guide you to the purple rain”
So I decided to start walking again. Out into the early mornings, even into the purple rain should any fall. One morning all the way to the university, where I then worked happily all day, even though I couldn’t get into any of the buildings. Isolated there in the shut down and as socially distanced as anyone, but working again because of walking. And walking at what is, for me, the right time of the day. Out and walking, straight after I get up, only checking the weather to see if I need a coat or not, flask of coffee in my bag, with my pens and a book, and I’m gone. It’s elemental for me this, and it has to be in the morning. Out in the hope that’s in every new day, the spring in my steps since Monday and all the days since. Except for this one, so far, because I’m writing this.
And I’m much better now thanks.
Which was a lot of stuff about me, but maybe some similar tears and emotions will have been about you too? So I hope you’re still here.
Anyway, Sarah’s come back in from the funeral while I’ve been writing, Vaughan Williams and his ‘Norfolk Rhapsody’ are playing in our background, the white wash has finished, and it could be we’ll both be over in The Mystery soon. For a walk and to see how the buttercups, the umbellifers, the red campion and life itself are all doing on this sunny Saturday morning.
Purple rain possible later, but unlikely.
You can read all of these “Home Life During a Pandemic” articles here.