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Life in a time of covid-19 - part 17: palindromes or not? And seeing ourselves for who we might have been.

When I started this post, it was 12/1/21 and I'm such an accomplished time-waster that I've left it to 17/1/21 to continue. While I'm not entirely sure why I didn't finish on the 12th ... apart from being entangled in a to-do list as long as both of my arms ... I've found time to come back today, despite that to-do list now needing the addition of the lengths of both of my legs to match its ever-stretching expanse. Procrastinate when busy is my motto - put off everything if at all possible. Ignore lists and swim before you sink. In other words, just ... write! So, hopping back through time, what was going round inside my head on the 12th? It was the date: specifically, was it a palindromic date or not?  12/1/21 reads the same from left to right and from right to left but is not included in lists of palindromic dates on the internet. How unfair! I guess the conventional formats of MMDDYY or DDMMYY ie. 01/12/21 and 12/01/21 would not be palindromes but in my world - m
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Life in a time of covid-19 - part 16: Fear, participation and a glass half empty rant.

A frosty morning. An ancient oak. A hint of blue sky. A bit of frozen cobweb. And days lengthening - "If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?" Percy Bysshe Shelley I can't quite believe that I'm here, writing another 'Life in a time of covid-19' blog - the sixteenth. Maybe I'm stuck in a covid loop of covid blogging. Maybe it's time to stop. I like the number seventeen, so maybe there will be a seventeenth, and then something different. For now though - getting back to the sixteenth - what a year we have had. What a time we live in. What ... I stare out of the window ... what ... I massage my shut eyes, smearing my glasses with my fingers ...  what about what comes next? Dare we think of that? Specifically, the what of what comes next. Time will tell. What a cliche! Well, yes, but it's a cliche that is true. Time will, indeed, tell. But the problem is, we want it to tell us now. We want to know. We want to be able to see past the doom-laden news

Life in a time of Covid-19 - part 15: tiers and tears. And waiting; for this, too, shall pass.

  As I walked with this pair earlier today - on our last walk of 2020 - I reflected. Because reflecting or dreaming or imagining things is what you do when you're walking. I reflected - I don't know why - on the homophones tier and tear in relation to the Christmas just passed - a Christmas that was suddenly smaller - tiers and tears; a Christmas that was devoid of the usual parties - tiers; a Christmas that had FaceTime unwrapping of presents - tiers. And later, a few private tears. A Christmas 'crown' that was more than adequate and cooked far quicker than the usual big bird - tiers; a Christmas with friends distant, some on the end of a phone, and one gone - tears; Christmas walks to clear our heads and meet first in a group of six, then one with one - tiers; and the last ten minutes, alone with a Christmas film, caught channel-hopping, by mistake - tears. And today, a chill wind, mist and fogged-up glasses, and, pouring down cold cheeks, tears, unchecked. To sugges

Life in a time of covid-19 - part 14: Venus on the horizon and Ovid. Or if not Ovid, could it be covid inside my head?

  "Venus favours the bold" Ovid ... Venus an hour before sunrise this morning (the dot above and to the right of the oak). Well, I assume I'm not alone in thinking it's hard to believe it's December. How did that happen? I know December follows November, follows October etc and despite it being a weird year, it's not yet bent time. But honestly, where has 2020 gone? No, actually ... shakes head. And shakes head again. And drops head momentarily onto desk ... don't bother to answer that question: we all know where 2020 has gone. It's been swallowed up by a tiny virus. Tiny. Miniscule. Deadly. Monsters are meant to be big; they're meant to stomp and roar; to huff and puff and blow our houses down; or smell our blood while shrieking 'fe-fi-fo-fum.' They're meant to lurk beneath our beds and hide in cupboards, waiting to pounce. They should have green skin, drool slime and be covered in warts. They live in dark forests or in swamps. And som

Life in a time of covid-19 - part 13: after a hiatus, what comes next?

What comes next?       What comes next is a question we impatiently ask ourselves throughout our lives. It assists planning. It is the bedrock of ambition. It builds futures. But, right now, what comes next is tinged with more uncertainty and fear than we are used to. In our cosseted, modern lives, those of us who live in stable, Westernised societies, have become lazy in our thinking - we've too often narrowed the focus of what comes next to our own small patch of the planet - ourselves, our families, and our friends and colleagues. Now the focus of what comes next has exploded to encompass the entire planet and all its peoples and ecosystems and political situations. And contemplating this near-incomprehensible what comes next is exhausting. I've been struggling with it for at least two months. Let's face it, I'm not alone - you have too; along with the rest of the population. Of the entire world. I say two months ... but in reality, we have probably been contempla

Life in a time of covid-19 - part 12: dreaming

You know that lazy afternoon feeling - sitting on a hillside/beach/boat/at a table on the pavement outside a cafe/bar - mug/glass of something hot/chilled in your hand - clouds slowly sliding across a blue sky - a gentle zephyr of a breeze dancing through your hair - and nothing to do but sit and stare? That feeling when your thoughts succumb to day-dreams and your eyes close and real dreams start to unroll inside your head.  Has anyone else noticed that social isolation has a similar effect - all-be-it one laden with anxiety and punctuated - like big fat rain drops tumbling out of the sky - with frustration? The lazy afternoon bliss of holiday freedom replaced by the lazy afternoon en-trappment of a global pandemic, but both tipping us into our dreams. So, this becomes another day for dreaming. Like yesterday. And the day before. And then for dreaming about dreaming. And perhaps for asking, 'What is a dream?' Dream - definition:  noun  - a fantasy of the imaginat

Life in a time of covid-19 - part 11: earth day and apples

I have posted an i-phone photograph of the sunrise, on Instagram, every morning, for the past 22 days. And I am exhausted. But not so exhausted that I am tempted to stop. Not yet. Small things give purpose to the day. Particularly, when day after day we are in lockdown and the world looks more different than we could ever have imagined. There is something anchoring in seeing the sunrise. Maybe, it harks back to a deeply-rooted instinct that looks to the sun for reassurance. Maybe, it is my way of finding a constant - if the sun rises then I can too. I can begin my day. The coronavirus has altered the world we live in, but the earth hasn't changed. Or has it? Arguably, the earth has changed - Across the industrialised world, industry has shut down and commuting to work has all but ceased. As a result, pollution levels have collapsed. The WHO estimates that the smog caused by air pollution kills over 1.5 million people a year in India. Now the air is so clear that the H