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Sometimes I forget that everything is not normal.

The cars are back on the road at rush hour, I’ve just left my house with less fear of being reported to the police. My strawberries are flourishing, and the lime blossom in the park is at the same stage as it was this time last year.

I am walking to town.

A family appears, moving towards me on the pavement, a mother, father and two teenage kids. They dive towards the hedge as I approach, turning their heads away from me and covering their faces.

With sudden tears, I remember that everything is not normal.

Back at home my Facebook feed spews a strangely addictive cocktail of divisive venom, Buddhist style memes and virology papers from well know physicians. It’s hard not to get caught in the spinning vortex of overwhelm and confusion. 

My days are a continuing vacancy of Covid-induced redundancy; futile attempts to coax the children to engage in irrelevant school tasks, and the reverberating yawns of voices on a bad zoom call. But the water snails in my pond are mating with as much vigour as the shield bugs on my Spinach, and remind me that sex for me is now officially illegal. I have become a criminal overnight.

But the sharp teeth of 3am nip the back of my neck most nights, reminding me of a future that I hadn’t planned. They whisper in my ear; statistics and counter statistics, theories and counter theories, death tolls and domestic abuse cases, state control and mass starvation. Hiding under the duvet offers little protection.

So in the hour before dawn I step outside. Between the grey tendrils of receding night, and the pink haze of a new day, I walk barefoot in the woods. By the lake, where the birds shake the sleep from their feathers, I exist between space and time. I am the breath between the seconds. For a moment, in liminal space, I am freedom, I am power, I am wisdom, and I know wild truths. All is beauty.

The sun comes, and another lockdown day, overlaid with a faint patina of hope.

By Henrietta Heron


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