Here in Autumnal New Zealand we are preparing quite excitedly for a change in our national status. We are to move down ( or up, depending on how you view it) from Level 4 to Level 3 at 11.59 pm Monday 27th April. Five weeks after shutting the country down our leadership team thinks we can give a bit more physical freedom a shot. It’s not too much more than we have become almost used to – Level 3 has been variously described as ‘Level 3.9’ or ‘Level 4 with takeaways’.
We didn’t really have a chance to experience Level 3 as we progressed quite quickly from Level 1 (no pandemic) to Level 2 (cases of Covid19 being dealt with in hospitals) to a two day panic stricken, toilet paper buying frenzied Level 3 in preparation for the Level 4 national Lockdown to halt the spread of the pandemic that had entered our shores via international travellers returning home and visitors arriving and a cruise ship or two off loading infected tourists into our ports. As a country we travelled at lightening speed from a blase disbelief to an understanding that this was now a ball fairly placed in our court – we could pretend it wasn’t here or we could accept that it was and take full responsibility for halting the spread. We could as a nation ‘Stay Home’.
And we did – we stayed home! On the whole, as a nation of grown ups, we’ve handled this quite well. There’s always numpties and VII’s (Very Important Idiots) to contend with in life generally – they are here in times of crisis as well – they are a global pandemic all their own really – and despite them the rate of infection has dropped, there appears to be little or no community spread (I type that with my fingers crossed) and the deaths that have resulted are all from age care facilities where the virus snuck in undetected in the early days prior to the borders being closed. The tragedy of course has been that lockdown meant families could not be with their loved ones in their last days and funerals could not be conducted in the way those families would have wished. You have to be Class 1 VII not to be sobered by that simple fact.
A week into Lockdown and I decided to use some of my time productively and joined in with an on-line sketching and doodling group that came out of the UK. Some of you are aware my arty type mojo packed up and left a couple of years back and I’ve been on the whole completely unable to do anything more than make an endless array of greeting cards. With no confidence, no ability and no idea where to start this seemed like a good idea – at least this way I would pick up a pencil and follow some instructions on a daily basis and empty my mind of everything while I tracked the movement of said pencil on paper.
I’ve loved it – and I’m still doing it. It’s my dose of daily Zen. It keeps me sane and happy and cheerful. I was pleasantly surprised with how quickly I took an instruction and ran with it and in less than three weeks that elusive mojo was back sketching, drawing, colouring, creating ……
I woke late this morning and the room was light and filled with bird song. We had a warm and sunny walk and met several friends along the way – there is a more relaxed feel to everyone right now, a perhaps premature celebration that we might have found a way to overcome this thing….. Soon we hope to see an end to this lockdown, an easing of restrictions, the chance to meet a friend for coffee if we can get back to Level 2…. There is hope and therefore it seemed fitting that today felt like spring. I joined two neighbours and a passing friend on the street just now in the warm sun. It felt a little like a party with the dogs moving about freely and the adults a little easier on the physical distancing. We’ve all been in isolation for five weeks – there’s a common feeling we have nothing to pass on. And then there’s that sudden quiet moment, a brief pause and we make eye contact and hope we are right ……
When I shared this doodle on Facebook my friend Jan (The Snail of Happiness) in Wales attached this marvelous ditty from the late, great Spike Milligan
Smiling is infectious,
you catch it like the flu,
When someone smiled at me today,
I started smiling too.
I passed around the corner
and someone saw my grin.
When he smiled I realised
I’d passed it on to him.
I thought about that smile,
then I realised its worth.
A single smile, just like mine
could travel round the earth.
So, if you feel a smile begin,
don’t leave it undetected.
Let’s start an epidemic quick,
and get the world infected!
Let’s pass on the good kind of infection – a smile, a kind word, a happy dance. Be your own vaccination and raise your immunity with positivity, hope and kindness. If I might misquote the great Mahatma ‘Be the change you want to see’ ………….
Thanks so much for coming by today, I love that you did.