This week marked the one-year anniversary of the UK’s first national lockdown. In late February 2020 Mr W. and I had lunch in a crowded London restaurant with a bunch of friends, celebrating a landmark birthday without a care in the world. A month later we couldn’t set foot outside our home at all without an approved reason.
The change was sudden and drastic. Like everyone else I know, we were more than a little shell-shocked.
I’m reminded of a night, many years ago, on vacation in the Himalaya. A group of us camped on a ridge, high above a vast plain. We had supper, sang songs, played word games around the campfire, and retired to bed in excellent spirits. Around midnight we awoke to a storm the like of which I have never seen before or since. The waterproofing on our tents was rapidly overwhelmed and a fast-flowing river sprang up under my sleeping mat. Fortunately we had some dry clothes in a sealed bag, because everything else was soaked. Staying inside the tent was grim but going outside was worse. The following morning we all sat silently on our saturated kit bags, bedraggled and bemused. Our guide, who’d doubtless seen worse, looked us over, rubbed his chin, and thought for a moment. “One for the diary,” he said.
The Year of Covid probably deserves a whole diary to itself, but a page is more than enough for me. Below are my current top ten entries.
- Don’t take today for granted. Life can change in a heartbeat.
- Lasting good can come from terrible catastrophes.
- Humans are social animals. Technology can connect us, but it will never fully replace face-to-face contact and caring touch.
- Humans are adaptable and innovative. It’s mind-boggling what we can achieve when we co-operate together.
- Our world is deeply interconnected. We can’t just fix bits of it and expect the whole shebang to work.
- Don’t mess with mother nature.
- For the writer in me: character is choice under pressure.
- Also, language is also adaptable and innovative. A new crisis will spawn new words and concepts.
- Further: everything, however grim or inspiring, is story material.
- And for the eternal optimist: nothing but good times ahead.
What would you record in your 2020-21 Covid Diary?