The Darkest Hour

Wednesday March 17, 2021

For we in the UK, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Our vaccination programme is going faster and more smoothly than anyone could have expected. The children are already back at school; we have a plan for opening non-essential shops, gyms and hair salons in early April; for small social gatherings in May and a possible end to all restrictions by the end of June. Hope is in sight.

Why, then, does lockdown seem harder than ever?

My mother has had the vaccine and so have I, yet still I cannot hug her, or even pop over for just a cup of tea. I deliver her groceries to her door, say a brief hello, and come away. Like many of us, I long for a brisk walk along the beach or deep in the countryside. Our river is beautiful, but I feel that I know intimately each reed, each bramble and twig along the path.

As Spring unfurls there are changes to be seen every day, but this Spring does not have the magic of the last. Last Spring everything was new. There was a silence on the roads that is not there now because everyone stayed at home. The birdsong was deafening and, while it was difficult to come to terms with such a different time, there was the thrill of novelty. Now it is just a grind.

There is also fear and the sense of a great task to undertake.

In four weeks’, I may again open my studio to clients, again with all the infection control procedures in place. This means, as clients will enter through the garden, I must make sure it is respectable – and gardening is not really my thing. There are other things to get into place. I must accept that, in some ways, I have allowed myself to get into a comfortable rut.

On the one hand I am finding this last bit of lockdown harder than ever; on the other, I don’t want it to end.

It seems that we humans are impossible to please!

When it all seems too much to bear, I find it invaluable to make a plan. Each task can be broken down into bite-size pieces. As I look out into the garden, instead of seeing it as one big task, I can sort it out into individual small jobs:

• Neaten up the lawn edge.

• Trim back the overgrown honeysuckle.

• Weed the path.

• Weed the flowerbeds:
o Front
o Side
o Back

• Visit the garden centre and buy some flowers for my sad and empty planters.

• Plant those flowers in planters.

I have 25 days. One task a day. I suppose the first task is to make that plan – a plan to get through this last part of lockdown.

They say the darkest hour is before the dawn and it seems it is that way for me at least.

So, I’ll get out into the garden.

If only it would stop raining.

A Moodscope member.

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