Coronavirus diary - in it for the long haul?
Three weeks since I last blogged. Why? I don't know. That is the reason, I think, that I don't know. I don't know what is happening with the virus and what we should and should not be doing. Following each twist and turn of what is happening is impossible. One moment it seems that some sort of normality is reappearing - yoga classes restart, we spend a weekend with older son and his family. The next it is clear that numbers of cases of the virus are surging up again. Friday saw the largest number of new confirmed cases since the peak of the outbreak with 6,874 people testing positive. At the moment hospital admissions and mortality figures are not rising as steeply, perhaps partly because the age profile of those testing positive remains much younger than it was in the earlier peak in the pandemic here in the UK and younger people do not tend to be as severely hit. The Chief Scientific and Medical Officers, however, are predicting a significant increase in the numbers of those with serious illness as the virus spreads ever further within the community. Large numbers of people in the UK are living with some sort of additional restrictions as the government seeks to avoid a second major lockdown. Indeed our older daughter and her family living in Rhondda Cynon Taf are in one of the parts of Wales where travel in and out of the area is discouraged. We have only seen them twice since March and each time for just a few short hours so we were looking forward to some longer time together. That will have to wait for now.
I am sure I am not alone in finding this period somehow harder than lockdown proper. There was a clarity in the earlier restrictions that was both difficult and easy. Stay home, no work, no meeting family or friends. Here in Wales in the early stages we were supposed to stay within five miles of home, to exercise from home and batten down the hatches. It was simply a matter of getting on and doing it, working in the garden, reading and listening to music, making things, accepting that WhatsApp, Zoom and Facetime were the means to keep in touch with the people who matter to us.
Where we are now is likely to be much more typical of where we will be for the coming months I think: wearing masks in shops, seeing small numbers of people outside and even smaller numbers inside, not travelling, making daily small choices about what to do and where to go within the constraints of what is allowed. It feels as if the world is twisting and changing shape before our eyes, as impossible to catch as smoke. Everything is uncertain.
So once again I am here looking for the things which ground me, satisfy me, make me feel most like myself.
We have just had a few days helping our younger son and his wife with childcare while he had an operation. The pleasure and immediacy of time with small children puts you right in the moment.
Always for me the natural world makes me feel like me. Autumn is just beginning to show itself. In the morning there are spiders' webs strung out across the garden and berries and fruits in the golden September light.
Yesterday Ian and I ran one of my fastest ever 5ks. Running always makes me feel better when I have done it although it doesn't always feel good while I am actually doing it! I am creeping on towards the target of running or walking the virtual Wales Coast Path, sixty eight miles down, eight hundred and two to go!
So it is the little things and the big things that give my life structure and meaning: family, exercise, a glass of wine by the fire with Ian, a good book to lose myself in, the view from the top of the hill out across the Vale of Clwyd towards Snowdonia, a hot shower, scrambled egg on toast,butterflies crowding the sedum, the sunshine pouring in at the window.
It is all doable. Life is still good. How are things for you?