My one hundredth post slipped by unmarked in the rush of new circumstances surrounding me. This is one hundred and two. Yay, me!
Tonight, I received Issue #89 of The Red Hand Files from Nick Cave. The question he answered was “What do we do now?” from a gentleman in London. His answer was long and considered and very wise but, in a nutshell, he reduced it down to following instructions: “Wash your hands and (if you can) stay at home” were his finishing words. Oh, and the customary “Love, Nick”.
That “Love” on the end of all his answers always astonishes and, oddly, delights me. That he offers love so freely – it is warm and personal. That is what is amazing about The Red Hand Files. Questions I would struggle to get to the core of (especially from a complete stranger) he manages to answer so thoughtfully and compassionately.
I want to write this blog compassionately. And so I am beginning with a disclaimer. I am not ignoring the horror and the fear of this international crisis. Or if I am, it is only because it is too much for me to think about. I am living in the moment because it is what feels safest right now. That’s what Nick’s advice is. Just do what you must to stay healthy. For me, each day is a new challenge of keeping our two children happy and interested and at least partially immuned to the complete mayhem going on all about.
May I talk about hope? Or is it too early?
Imagine a future where people who govern irresponsibly have been shown up by the crisis. They have been exposed as fools or criminals (or both) and lost their power.
Imagine a global acceptance that health and hygiene and science are key to human survival. The science that gets us through COVID19 is managed the same way as the science that warns us about Climate Change.
Imagine if Universities got better funding and hospital staff, volunteer firefighters, police, ambos and SES workers were recognized as heroes. Imagine if they too were the Queens Birthday medalists.
Imagine the planet, washed clean and renewed by human inactivity and what we will walk out into the day this is all over. It is our chance to start again. Our chance to embrace and love a healthy planet.
Imagine a future where families re-connect in a way that isn’t possible with the unrelenting daily grind of work and school and meals and cleaning and mortgages
Our daughter strums her ukulele without even looking at her fingers changing chords. Our son finds rhythms on drums and tables and the floor. We go for bike rides through dappled light and I marvel at their strong legs and the skills of balance and timing they have developed despite my own sense of muddle in my parenting approach. We battle through school tasks together – tasks set by me without any confidence as to their value or the way they will be received. But then my daughter says “Can we keep doing school work all through the holidays, Mummy?” and the sun comes out in force.
It’s hard to finish this without sounding like I live in a little fairy bubble floating on some uninfected breeze. I know there are many out there doing it way tougher than me and that my words are flawed by inexperience. But I write this for myself as much as for anybody else.
Change is bloody awful – especially change we don’t get a choice in. Especially change which is scary and uncontrollable and unfathomable the way this pandemic is. But not everything about our society is fabulous. This is a rain check. It’s a gateway. It’s a fork in the road. It’s a new choice.
I am petrified too. But I am clinging on to that distant silver lining. For my kids. I just have to. Can anyone else see it? Is it a rainbow or something more solid?