Signs of the times

on a train wearing a mask

A friend quoted on Facebook the poem called Leisure by W H Davies I’d been thinking about during the amazing spring weather (in SE England) during May.  

“What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs and stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass, where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight, streams full of stars, like skies at night….” 

Another, an architect in Wales, quoted in an email this from Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities)

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

As we have tried to come to terms with phrases like ‘new normal’ and ‘social distancing’, some have experienced too much leisure and some have been overwhelmed with domestic and professional multi-tasking, some desperate for some isolation and others crying out for human contact, some delighting in new-found freedom to grow vegetables and cook from scratch while others, grieving and traumatised family members and friends of the 41,449 (as of today’s date) who have lost their lives in the UK through Coronavirus, try to cope with bereavement and arranging socially-distanced funerals, both Covid-related and otherwise.  The shock for me, in finding online that someone I’d known for ten years on a committee had died three months before, was real enough and yet I knew him so comparatively little.  

This has been a contradictory time of showing concern and love to others by staying away from them, when the safest place to walk locally was in the middle of the road, and yet an experience of massive creativity as shops and small businesses found ways to continue against all the odds.  

For my family and friends, for my garden and office, for my clients, associates and colleagues and for my faith which promises an overflowing hope, I am more thankful than I can say.