Covid-19, A Rural Diary - A Year Down The Line

Tuesday, 23rd March, 2021

This photo was taken on Mother’s Day 2020, Sunday 22nd March. We went for a family walk in glorious sunshine. It was the day before the first Lockdown was announced. No-one knew what was coming. It’s been a long dark road and we’re still travelling down it. But at least there is now both metaphorical and literal light on the horizon: we have a vaccine and it’s being rolled out fast. But did we really believe we’d still be here in a third lengthy Lockdown, 12 months down the line? How would we have reacted if we’d known the future?

Hindsight, as we all know, is a wonderful thing. Foresight is also a great gift - though sometimes it is better not to have glimpses of the future. I think this is one such case. The only way most of us have been able to get through the last bizarre year is by taking one day at a time. With so much uncertainty, I have refused to hope and to plan. I couldn’t be bothered booking stuff and having to go through all the hassle of cancelling and sorting out refunds; to deal with endless disappointment in the face of so much already. I think that, bit by bit, we have all come to an acceptance of our current reality. Even the young.

But what have we gained, and what have we lost? These questions are too much to answer in this short, insignificant blog. A year ago I wrote about what hope I had for what we might learn from our collective experience:-

‘The human spirit has enormous powers of adaptation when challenged. We are facing one of the greatest challenges of our generation. Let’s not throw away that opportunity for positive change. Let’s live, and fundamentally learn, by our past mistakes. If we learn through this to love ourselves, love each other and love our planet, we might actually start to make some progress.’

Do you think we have risen to that challenge? Are we any clearer what our future holds? We are certainly older, but are we any wiser? Are the many changes that needed to take place in our society actually going to happen?

Answers on a postcard please.....


The bike shed said…
Sadly, I'm not sure we have. The lack of nuanced debate worries me greatly — the polarisation of 'lockdown lovers' and '#covidiot' tells a tale of narrow and selfish perspectives and does not bode well for reflective learning.
Meanwhile, our politicians withhold information and manipulate us all with nudge units and slogans - if ever knowledge was power this was the time - and while I don't think they are gratuitously power-crazed or at all foolish as some would have us believe, they are inevitably driven by their own agendas too - keeping their seats safe is part of the mix!
The saddest thing of all for me is the continuance of suspicion and lack of welcome to 'others' and 'outsiders'. I see this every day in my rural community and it is wrong and should be called out. Our relative safety is entirely dependent on the goodwill and courage of those who supply us with food, medicine, and so much more... If this pandemic has taught me anything it is that 'self-isolation' is not possible - we are all of us interconnected in our lives.
To learn we must be prepared to objectively review our mistakes too - what's sometimes called 'black box thinking'. Eventually, we may come to do this, but for now, I sense the climate of fear still prevails, and - as in other aspects of our lives - it is not a bedfellow of progress.
For all this I am still hopeful. Wh would have imagined a vaccine could have been developed so quickly at this time last year. Proof if ever it were needed that we have the capacity for immense good if only we can harness it.
kestrel said…
I like the photo of your long road. I think absolutely NO ONE expected a year of lock downs and partial lockdowns. Now is is 2nd wave and third wave. If anyone told me that all this would happen in my life time, I would have laughed it off. Glad you had a good mothers day with a walk on a lovely day.
Carah Boden said…
Very wise insights Mark and thank you so much for taking the time to share them. I couldn’t agree more with all you say.

And Kestrel - you are quite right. I don’t think any of us believed we would still be in this situation a year down the line. Thank goodness sometimes for not being able to see into the future! And thank you, it was a lovely day :)). Thank you so much for reading and for your lovely comments. I hope you are well too?