Headlong

In the last few posts I’ve indicated a disquiet about the ‘re-opening’ process that has been going on. Just to reiterate, although I’d rather not get infected by the coronavirus that is still out there, lurking, my disquiet is not based on fear. The chances of me or anyone I know becoming infected is pretty low right now. That’s why the re-opening process has been accelerated, with Monday 29 June being the day when most things will be operational in one form or another.

No, it’s not fear. It’s that the lockdown provided a glimpse of something different, an alternative mode of living. I was lucky. I don’t have small kids, I could still work and earn a salary, I didn’t get sick, I had lots of things to keep me occupied and really, the virus hardly affected me at all, and so that alternative mode of living was attractive to me. It was quiet, it was slow, and in the early stages, people seemed to display unusual levels of kindness and courtesy towards each other. People trusted the science and the science told people to stay at home.

As the restrictions eased, the traffic increased. The impatience of urban living became more apparent, symbolised for me by angry car horns. The science was left behind as the clamour to get back to ‘normal’ increased. The airwaves filled with special pleading as various interests argued for early opening and the reduction of distance requirements. And now, here we are, seven days before a general opening. It’s a bit like the end of the summer holidays.

But, you know, I liked the quiet, the slower pace, the headspace, the time to think. I liked the kindnesses, the courtesies. I liked the creativity required to make the Irish Board function in an entirely different way. I enjoyed the work-arounds and the enhanced collaboration required to facilitate remote performing arts examinations. In all of that, I saw a different way of being. Again, as I’ve said in a previous post, I had hoped that more would share a sense that things could be different. That the acquisitive, destructive, unsustainable ways of doing things might change. Regrettably, that particular hope was short lived, but the headlong rush to get back to the way things were has given me pause for thought. I don’t want to go back to the way things were. I don’t want to be part of the throng heading for the pub, to consume, to be entertained passively, to sink into the inertia of modern living where one’s choices are ever-more constrained by corporate algorithms. I’ve tasted clean air. I’ve heard sounds other than the rumble of traffic on tarmac. I’ve heard silence and that silence energised and excited me. It allowed ideas to emerge and have the space to develop without being knocked off course by noise.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this. And I’m not finished.

But I’ve also been making boxes! I love making boxes.

There was a big birthday (one involving a zero at the end of it) for Christine. That sparkly box was for her. This was in it …

I decorated little wooden spoons …

I painted yet more tiny flowers …

And I decorated an envelope for a friend’s birthday …

I made a tiny hat …

I did other stuff too but I think that’s enough for now.

An old school pal send me this …

I’m the guy with the ball (I was captain). It was the Under 14s. My dad cut my hair. It’s Father’s Day. I thought about him today.

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