What will you make of this one and beautiful year?
As we dug in to the lockdown closure, a poster on a wall near my home in Devon asked me: What will you make of this one and beautiful year? It sat alongside a cinema poster monthly listing for March, which hadn’t been changed in four months.
I’m a private person. I don’t usually really share myself on social media or blogs – only surface stuff, but ok, what have I made of this year so far?
I didn’t see my friends and family for many months. We usually live in each other’s pockets. My mum and dad are in their 80s and may never really emerge from lockdown. I wasn’t furloughed. I worked online in Devon long hours, endless days. My fifth novel was published.
I started out in Call Centre exploring the notions of getting home and being in the present. I wanted to ponder on why travelling and moving is as necessary to us as breathing and staying still. During lockdown, I experienced both a desperate need to be released and agoraphobia. I experienced frustrated momentum and trajectory. And I decided not to fly anymore.
The pandemic made me decide where is home and what I need to do with the rest of my time. I made a choice forced on me by a dishonest and ill-conceived referendum and I Brexited. As soon as border restrictions were lifted, I travelled home to France. Now new travel restrictions are separating me again from my family in the UK. The virus is still out there – lurking beneath my balcony with the holidaymakers. I continue to work online, sitting on a different sofa. But at least here, I feel that I can reclaim the ‘real’ landscape of my mind. I can swim, be with my community of friends here, and above all, I can write.
My white jasmine is making a comeback from near death after five months without me. My balcony rose is budding and blooming. My orchid is basking in the late summer heat. I am swimming in the deep green silk of the river and recovering (or readying for the next onslaught of the virus). The bells of the four ancient churches surrounding me peal asynchronously at breakfast and lunch and sound the half hours and hours. There never seems enough time in the days, in life. I’m working on really feeling each moment in this place.