I’m not sure if this strange time had a proper beginning and I certainly can’t see its end. This week I haven’t wanted to be online much even though there has been an explosion of people offering online workshops, readings and classes. I’ve been slightly ill and still feel under the weather but I’m sure (more or less but who knows??) it’s not Covid-19. I’ve downloaded the Kings College, London, Symptom Checker App – now downloaded by over 1.5 million people – in the interests of research and treatment/ vaccine development.
It goes without saying that it is perfectly OK to not be online at the moment (I’m kind of talking to myself here, but perhaps I’m talking to you, too). I’m still trying to find time every day for myself and my reading and writing. I also try to walk by myself every day, or to be quiet even when I’m walking with someone else. I really need silence and stillness which is harder to find now that the house is full. I don’t mean to be ungrateful because I am glad that l have a house with a garden, and that my immediate family is here with me.
Something I did this week that felt useful was make sandwiches for the soup and sandwich run for people who are in need which is organised by the church I go to, and to continue to commit to support it. It’s a Churches Together project in Trowbridge, a collaborative effort by all churches to make and distribute hot soup and a sandwich to those who need it from a pre-arranged place every day. When I made and dropped of my sandwiches at the back of the church, I waved hello to our Parish Priest and a few Parishioners. We had a shouty conversation, keeping our social distance. How weird not to be at weekly Mass. There are services online but I really haven’t wanted to ‘attend’. Perhaps I will in time.
Before churches were asked to close their doors because of the lockdown, I took some photos of the empty church.
This week I’ve also been preoccupied with trying to help my son cancel his student accommodation contract for next term. I hope that this will soon be sorted out and I hope all universities allow students to cancel payment for accommodation they can no longer use.
Sorry if this post is very flat! How are things with you? I’m finding it hard, hard, hard to read and write poetry at the moment, I’m not sure why. I’m reading and writing prose, instead, currently Margaret Atwood’s book Cat’s Eye which I’ve been carrying around for years without ever reading – as is so often the case with books I buy. The book prompted me to begin a short story a few weeks ago and I’m still working on that, slowly, slowly.
Having said what I’ve just said about poetry, there is one poem, ‘Small Kindnesses’ by Danusha Lameris, that I’ve loved recently which feels, to me, so appropriate for now when many of us are contemplating how precious life is and how important people are to each other.
“What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here, / have my seat,” “Go ahead – you first,” “I like your hat.”
The poem was posted by Peggy Hughes on Twitter and I’m including it below. Take care, everyone.