“April, I see you leaving
I don’t know what silence means
It could mean anything” April ~ PJ Harvey
April brings barriers. As I left for my walk this morning with Hiro. I am following current governemnt guidelines due to the lockdown brought about by the Coronavirus. So my walk today was hampered by my limitation as to where I could go.
Now two weeks into isolation, I have regularly felt like I’m walking around on a set of a post apocolyptic movie. Still early and having now gained an hour of light due to the clocks going forward at the weekend, The birds were already in their day, calling indistinguishably from each other.
I walked up the footpath near my home, only to find that since my January walk, more construction has begun and more fences are in place. As the housing estates building tendrills spread further and further onto fields and nearby land, it seems that the opportunities to walk into undisturbed countryside is being marred by acts of ‘progress’.
Sights around construction are reduced greatly, it seems. A few bunnies scampered accross the footpath and darted quickly out of Hiro’s reach, much to his frustration, and although as I found a gap through a fence to get onto the field, it became apparent that this walk was going to be restricted by further barriers as further down the field, more fencing had be constructed, effectively stopping all dog walking and exploring.
So I was left alone with thoughts, accompanied by the calls of various sparrows, crows and pigeons that inevitably focussed on the current situation. Social isolation is impacting on us all in the UK. Online activity has increased exponentially and although I relish my alone times, it feels frustrating to not have a choice at the moment. This enforced isolation allows me too much time to ponder, and the lack of natural distraction upsets me. At a time where the countryside is coming to life and nature is exploding in a sea of colour, I am having to limit the amount of time I can enjoy it.
Back on my walk and me and Hiro found ourselves scrambling through a narrow gap between two fences and the need to haul him up and over two fences to ensure we could access the last footpath.
“This was not the walk I was expecting”, came to my mind, as Hiro, clearly impressed by the myriad of smells he could find, ambled around before and in front of me.
So when I started this in January, I had planned to experience different outdoor spaces and see the world grow and blossom, escape the business of town and work and explore some of the simpler things in life. Yet here I am, my thoughts upon waking are on the current situation. It’s difficult to distract myself from this situation, the television speaks about nothing other than Coronavirus. This unprecedented time is overwhelming emotionally as we hear of tragedies both locally and worldwide. The irony that I try to escape the hubbub of life to find peace and quiet, when now I am surrounded by quiet, as I left the path and walked into a street, it was again desolate, no early morning traffic on the high street.
The saving grace is that wildlife is starting to move closer to us now, the birds are louder, stories of wildlife coming out into the open as a result of less human footfall. Nature may slowly start claiming the territory we’ve taken from them.
So whilst my mind is preoccupied with other fears and anxieties, I see and hear stories of community closeness and virtual disconnectedness, our new normal is very different what what we have known and it will be interesting to see what next month brings.
I hope everyone is safe and indoors. Following the advice at this most unusual time. Although we might feel strained and stressed throughout this time, we can look for light in the moments we are outside, the time we have to carry out activities we usually leave.