One word characterises our reaction to the virus. ‘Recoil’ seems appropriate, but not so much a ‘moving away’, rather a ‘contraction’ into ourselves. That might explain why the bluster of politicians seems so absurd. They can no longer convincingly puff themselves up with self-importance. The emptiness of their discourse is laid bare. Much is abandoned in that ‘contraction’, stripping away the trappings of consumerism, making us acutely aware of the essentials of life, both missed and rediscovered. In the recoil there is evident fear, justifiably so faced with an invisible threat, but there is also a delicate richness that needs to be savoured and treasured.
This week saw the return of younger children to school. A particular event in the village as the new school buildings are opening for the first time. It was strange to see children hugging and wrestling and running in every direction apparently without the slightest care in the world. As I battled with annoyance at their joyful lack of concern, I quickly realised I was jealous. Amongst others released from lockdown are the local pot-shooters who have been making a nuisance of themselves shooting hundreds of clay pigeons at the local firing range. Makes you appreciate the peace and quiet of lockdown. News from the States reveals that those raucous meetings of gun-carrying demonstrators clamouring for the freedom to break out of the lockdown were in fact responsible for further spreading the disease in a country that can boast the worst death toll in the world.