Time for Common Sense
Just when I have found relatives I didn't know I had, it seems The End Times are upon us. Or are they? Maybe not. Perhaps we'll come through these uncertain times and be able to view a brighter future. I don't feel right about not being in Europe. I'm a bit sad that our royals are going through an uncertain time. I pity those who suffered because of the winds and the flooding. Now, I'm amazed at the evident value of commerce over the lives of those at present on these islands.
And yet, in the middle of March, when the skylarks are singing their little hearts out, the rooks continue to build in the trees around us and primroses and daffydowndillies are joining the crocus and snowdrops in the garden, there is something good. Something wonderful, in fact. There was no song, there was no courtship, there were no flowers. Now we have all of those and more.
When I was a little girl, I was taken, by ambulance, to the isolation hospital. I had scarlet fever and I was so poorly at first that I don't remember the beginning of my stay there. Later, when I was on the mend, I was unhappy. I'd never been away from home before and I missed my family so much that I felt sick with loneliness. When they came to visit they were the other side of the glass - which, when I think about it, was probably worse than not being there at all. My favourite toy was a kaleidoscope and I had to leave it behind because it wasn't possible to have it deep cleaned.
It was a miserable experience. The one positive I remember from it was the daily parcel of sugariness - sweeties in a little screw of tissue paper - which we received after our obligatory afternoon nap.
Isolation? Not quite. We were all in the same boat. I didn't make any permanent friends there but I developed an almost obsessive love of the kaleidoscope. I still keep one next to my bed. I'm not sure what a psychologist would make of it but I simply love the changing patterns and colours. When all else seems to crowd in, and I'm not able to settle to read my bedtime novel, I pick up my kaleidoscope - and my shoulders relax, I hold my breath when I see the beauty of the designs and then, almost like magic, rest invites me in.
How strange that the experience of childhood isolation should still affect me in such a positive way.
It is a terrifying word though. Isolation. Makes me think of Robinson Crusoe and Alexander Selkirk. An interesting one, Crusoe, with a depth of meaning still worth consideration, 300 years after its publication. How does a person survive alone? And how does he or she survive when the only other human company demonstrates a life-style incongruous with one's own?
People are thrown together throughout life - all kinds. Some not kind. Some unkind.
In my Lincolnshire grammar-school days, I remember only one unkind girl in my year. There were some who were not actually kind, but only one who simply could not help being unkind. I'm wondering now what happened to her. But we had to get along. You do, don't you - have to get along?
And more so if you are thrown together by misfortune.
Here we are, on the brink of something of a world-wide tragedy. We find ourselves shunted into sections and someone even mentioned a police presence to ensure we follow guidelines - even though common sense shows us the folly therein.
In my close family, we have the elderly, I suppose I too am a little bit elderly, we have health problems, we have members who, at present, cannot avoid being in close proximity with groups of potential carriers. I doubt if anyone reading this does not fall into the same category. We have fears. We've had tears. But early this morning, I stepped outside with the dog. He ran off to do what dogs do in the garden early in the morning. I stood by the section of the garden which I'd spring-cleaned yesterday. I was pleased with it. Spears of green seemed taller today. They were easier to spot due to my efforts. I looked up into the trees and saw our garden birds. Expecting them to fly away on spotting me, I kept very still. They stayed. They are very much with us.
I'm waiting to be told that there will be acts of heroism in all of this. Heroism. My view of the world will not be changed by heroes. My world gets better when I consider the little everyday kindnesses of those who just can't help themselves.
What happens if we raise our heads above the parapet? If we garner support for our alternative views? These are uncertain times and not one of us can know the answer. Should we talk about it? This might be what we Brits have been waiting for - the legitimacy to say nowt!
We're a funny lot! Generally not very good at laughing at ourselves though.
I find myself the butt of many family jokes these days. I'm trying to keep up but, in doing so, I make some real gaffes. It makes 'em laugh - and so I smile. I just love to see them happy. Would I rather be isolated? I certainly wouldn't.
This is not the worst of times. It is the best of times. Time to stick together. To understand fear in others. To show compassion. Time for common sense - and time for hope.