The ending of the third lockdown is much more gradual than the previous two. We are all emerging slowly, adding the new activities we can do, to our diaries, over a couple of months. It feels wonderful but also very strange.
First, we can sit outside and meet up to six friends. Next, we can go shopping and eat outside and finally, if we're all good, we'll be able to go on holiday, meet friends indoors and eat indoors. It's all so very strange. Activities we took for granted just one year ago now seem alien and slightly scary. Everyone is responding differently. Some friends are desperate to embrace the easing of restrictions, others somewhat nervous and reluctant to leave the safety of the homes.
We're enjoying our new found freedom. We've seen lots of friends and have sat outside drinking coffee or wine, depending on the time of day. We've enjoyed a wood fired pizza oven, a fire pit and swans sailing past, as we sat only feet away in friends' garden. It feels wonderful. The weather has also been, mostly, kind to us.
But, underlying all of this, is a sense of the safety we felt, whilst living our very restricted lives. I keep saying that I feel like I'm coming round from an anesthetic or recovering from pins and needles! The return to normality is great but there's a sense of anxiety. What's next? Will there be another lockdown? Will "real life" be as good as I remember it was?
My thoughts keep turning to T S Eliot's magnificent poem The Waste Land and those, spine tingling, opening lines of Burial of the Dead:
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Somehow, this just sums up everything I am feeling at the moment. As usual, poetry helps me make sense of the world around us.