Once upon a time, early in 2020, people pondered reflectively what possibilities the new decade would bring personally and globally. For some time before this, the moon and a magnificent mountain had been regularly meeting surreptitiously, to discuss their panoramic views on the world.
“What an incredibly special place to ‘be’,” they thought. “Surely any living creature fortunate enough to live here would appreciate what they ‘have’.” “You’d think so wouldn’t you?”, said the mask. “But last time I came out was in 1656, and I imagined after the death and destruction wreaked they’d learn some valuable lessons. It’s incomprehensible to me that for the next 350 hundred years all they’ve done is learn increasingly savage ways to trash the planet with their selfishness, corruption and greed. Especially in the last 50 years. In fact, the earth came so precariously close to removing all human form, she sent a strong and easily spreadable virus as a dire warning. I’ve re-appeared because she wanted to scare them enough to be far more thoughtful about the consequences of their deeds and actions …”
We know the beginning and a fraction of the middle. The million-dollar question is, how will we contribute to the end? Or will we keep the possibility of ‘the end’ in sight sufficiently to change it for a better new chapter or book?
Barry’s sister Jenny, who lives in Australia, is an artist. A very gifted one. Recently she made a costume of a replica of the mask and cloak worn by plague doctors in Rome and Naples when 445,000 people died. The world’s population would’ve been far smaller then. There was much less travel between cities and countries. But that still sounds like a small figure in relation to the current crisis. Yes, people die every day, of flu, car accidents, cancer. But this. This is something else. It feels very much to me like a warning. One that we would be most ill-advised to ignore.
Fresh rosemary and lavender were an essential (forgive the pun!) addition she tells me, to overpower the smell of glue to hold the mask together! Such herbs were added centuries ago too, possibly for different odour issues.
Reflecting On Our Contribution
Do we just wait it out and then go back to how it was? Are people so impatient to shop again, travel again, spend their evenings wasting extortionate money in pubs and restaurants? Keep spending and spending so they have to keep working and working? Or are some folks out there realising that actually, they don’t have to ‘make’ so much money after all? And that the best things in life really are free?
I’ve been reflecting too. We live fairly simply, but we still spend far too much on unnecessary things. I’ve flown 11 times in the past 12 months. That’s shocking. Cyprus there and back, return from Venice (the journey to France was by train, ferry and train), Menorca both ways, Amsterdam was by Eurostar), Corfu both ways, France both ways, and most recently Barbados both ways.
Yesterday I completed our 2019/20 annual accounts. I was horrified to see we spent £1,296.20 on clothes and shoes. Even though we try not to buy new, preferring to recycle from charity shops (surely there are enough clothes in the world to recycle for decades!), and Barry rarely buys clothes. So I can’t comprehend how much a ‘normal’ person in the west would spend a year? The category ‘social/outings’ shows £6,763.07. Goodness gracious me! That appals me. Again, we’re fairly cautious. How much does the rest of the population spend on their socialising?
I love to travel. I really do. And the thought of the possibility of never getting back to New Zealand breaks my heart. BUT, I also fear for our future as a race if we just ‘go back’ to how things were.
We’ve Crossed A Threshold
I’ve followed ‘The Story of Stuff’ for many years and been shocked at the never-ending rise of a ‘throw-away’ society. People have to keep buying new and replace things that are fine, still working, just a bit worn. What’s that about? This organisation’s latest offering is called ‘The Shift‘, the first episode of which ‘The ecology of Disease (episode 1)‘, was live-streamed on 2nd April. It makes compelling viewing describing how we really don’t know nature at all. How we need to learn from trees, from birds, from indigenous cultures. How we’ve crossed a threshold there’s no return from, or we’re basically buggered!
This morning I watched the moon-set. Is that a word? Like a sunset? An almost full moon was setting on the horizon, reflecting into the canal. She was breathtaking. Tonight she’ll be shining in all her full glory as a ‘Pink Super Moon‘. However, she won’t actually BE pink. The name comes from Native Americans, after the wild ground phlox flower that blooms in North America in the spring. She’ll be the second of three spring super moons. Apparently it’s ” ...time for us all to ’embrace our inner Librans“, (great as I’m a Libran!), “and seek balance in our relationships.” Perfect.
I’m seriously considering setting an alarm to see her around 3.45 am when she’ll be closest to the earth …
She’s watching us. As is the magnificent Mozelle Mountain in Les Deux Alps, images of which our darling friends Odile and Bruno share with us. This image is from Odile’s Facebook feed, posted on 27th March 2020:
Continuing COVID-19 Symptom-free
As of this morning, there were 2,177,268 people contributing to the COVID-19 Symptom Tracker research. Barry and I both reported no symptoms again this I’m grateful to say.
Keep safe and well everyone. My plea to you is taking the time to reflect on where you’ve been, where you unintentionally find yourself now, and where, in the light of this time, you see yourself in future contributing to keeping the world of human beings alive – in harmony with, not fighting against and ignoring, mother nature.