Slow down

My life in the time of Coronavirus is moving to a different rhythm.   I’ve always loved being at home, so not much has changed there.   The village where I live has a chemist, butcher, greengrocer, newsagent and shop.  There is enough of everything we need and our community is looking out for one another.

When lockdown came to the UK two weeks ago, I made a long list of household tasks and have been thinking about all of the artistic projects that I now have time for.    But some, or many, days it is all I can do to get up and get through the day.  I’ve been relishing my daily late afternoon naps more than ever.  Sleeping pretty well through the night, but having some disturbing dreams.

I’m finding it really hard to concentrate and flit from one activity to another more than usual.  My emotions run the gamut from fear and despair to feeling calm and ‘okay’, often a few times in a day,  This is all a normal response to radically different times.

Rather than focussing on ‘after this is over’, I’m focussing on how it is now.  What can I do now in the new shape that my life has become?

I’m working from home at my ‘bread and butter’ job two days a week.  Continuing to meet my Community Artwork colleagues, via Zoom,  We are developing an online Craftfulness in Quarantine group.  I’m working on another creative project in response to Mayflower 400.  Sometimes it is too much to engage with these pieces of work, but we are all able to express how we’re feeling and listen to one another.  It is such a different way of working together and all of the work is evolving in response to hugely changed circumstances.  I am finding that flexibility, responsiveness and suppleness are key.

All of that and sometimes, just slowing down.

Miss Pandemic 2020

You do not have to be productive.
You are not a dairy cow or a field of wheat.
Nothing will grind to a halt
if you do not take up the ukulele,
learn Spanish, start to crochet, master Pilates.

This is not a competition,
there will be no ‘Miss Pandemic 2020’
you cannot get a sash out of this,
you cannot win a crisis,

only hold each second like you
might hold a hand and think what can I do with you?
And you and you? Before long
you will have collected a minute.

Minute collecting is my new hobby.
I’m practising a lot.  I’m trying to do it as carefully
and slowly as possible and when I cry
I use the minutes I’ve collected to keep myself up.

I look around those minutes and see
what lives there and then I start again.
Everything has changed.  It is okay for this
not to feel like a holiday.  It’s not a holiday.

We are scared of air.  I tried to do yoga yesterday
but instead swore at the screen
and had a coffee and that’s okay.

-Erin Bolens

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