#LockdownDiary – One of many – Day 56
The idea of a collection of daily words describing how you felt for 30 days of social distancing and isolation feels really meaningful to me and something that I think I’d really appreciate having in 10 years. Think outside the box of what you might typically write!— NaNoWriMo (@NaNoWriMo) March 31, 2020
Sitting in bed, I edit the words I wrote nearly a month ago about biting in an orange for the first time on my cycle journey in 2016, the acid juice stinging my throat. It was too early for oranges then. Weeks later, they had ripened and I gorged on them, their juice syrupy and bright as the sun. This was a lifetime ago.
In the afternoon, I read aloud all the texts I have written about this journey. I highlight in red what I want to change. It isn’t much. As I breath out the last words and look at them on the computer screen I feel odd. The questions I raise in the texts, the feelings I explore have been with me for so long, churning in my head until I took the time to write them down.
I wonder how the people I mention are doing. I remember their houses and flats, their yearning for travel and the outdoors even when we were free to go. Are they okay now?
I think of my own travel plans put on hold this year, my house the only place where I feel safe. In my wildest dream I am hoping for a wild camp before winter comes but will it be possible? Will I be able to do it?
I don’t keep the thought in mind and return to my words about my journey back in 2016. Later, I go for a walk with my partner in the park. People are spread widely through the grass. My first thought is ‘wow, it’s busy’ even though there cannot be more than six groups of people. Music is blasting from a portable speaker, two men doing press-ups next to it, their shirts off.
We walk on to a quieter area and throw a ball for a while as if this is the most normal day in the world. And it is. It has become so. We awake, I stay in bed with my laptop or move to the study and work on whatever latest project demands my attention, we go for a walk, we come back home and eat, we read in bed, we go to sleep. Repeat.
It is not a bad normal. It is safe, known, controlled. Lucky.
I think again of my journey in 2016. Contours, receding, vanishing, lines… words we used with my partner to describe the texts in a failed attempt at finding a title. Receding, vanishing. Now that I think of it, I have written those words, or variations of, often the last few weeks. I am losing, changing.
I have lost confidence, I have lost safety. I have lost the outdoors, I have lost freedom. Those are necessary losses that I have come to accept. They are necessary restrictions. In exchange I have gained time and mental space. I have gained anxiety and fear. Will these recede too when I am told to go back to work, the world shifting once more beneath my feet?