The metronomical clang of the chain as the wind blows it against its metal gate at the entrance to the pretty grounds of the gothic church across the road.
The replacement flags that look like scars on the pavement in front of my house. I love that my house in is a conservation area and the street has yet to be diminished by tar mac pavements, even if the flags are a patchwork of mismatched grey.
The neighbours shrieks of frustration when their kids play up, which is daily.
The way grief has deeply stricken me again for my friend Leona. We would have spent hours at a time on the phone in lockdown. Correction – she would have been living in my second bedroom, because that’s what we discussed before she left. We would have been drinking wine together, complaining about isolation, and cooking, and laughing and dancing and gardening. Championing each other and comforting one another. Now I notice more than ever the way I talk to her in my head (so my neighbours don’t hear me through the single skin brick walls that divide our terraced houses) in my isolation hoping on some plane undetectable to human senses she hears me.
The meow of next doors cat every morning which, like a babies cry, makes me desperate to cuddle and comfort her. I try to befriend her daily but she forever plays hard to get.
The stillness in my body and my mind now that I know I’m not the only one home all day every day. I didn’t feel anxious in my belly when I was made redundant, but anxiety is a collection of thoughts, feelings and behaviour and not always only that butterfly feeling you get. Redundancy only perpetuated the ingrained pattern of thoughts and feelings that lingered in my job – that there was so much to do and that nothing could be done quickly enough and sometimes just a feeling of overwhelm and being stuck in mud and always fighting fires. I am someone who has so many things on my list of goals that I barely know where to begin. But now, with stillness, the urgency is lifted and somehow progress easy, even, steady.
All the long, dark (and occasionally grey) hairs that escape from my messy head of hair to the floor in my house which I can’t seem to hoover entirely despite my sustained efforts.
My attachment to the people I watch daily on vegan Youtube, who actually I feel are in a strange way closer companions, though they have no idea I even exist, than the people physically present in my life.
The beauty of the moment, the enduring present, a continuous stream of now. No worrying about the past; sometimes, mainly when I’m on the job hunt, worries for the future; but always back to the peaceful now.
The chime of the bells of the church across the road on the hour, every hour, magnified by the stillness on the street. Actually it’s not really bells, but a recording, an imitation of the past. I love it – a comforting constant, an anchor in the floating lockdown continuum.
(PICARD SPOILER – LOOK AWAY NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT TO SEE) My profound, unexpected attachment to Jean-Luc Picard. I watched the last episode of Picard and sobbed when he died. With a trekkie for a father, I watched Star Track the Next Generation weekly during my childhood, and I think that somehow the morality of the show has in a way helped inform my own morality, shaped how I see the world, and what doing the right thing is. With the associations I have between the show and my dad who has recently recovered from a dismal cancer diagnosis, the uncertainty of our current reality, and the monumental loss of my friend not 2 years ago, the loss of Picard, this beloved character in the show, and I suppose also in my life, is just too sad.
The one nail in the floor boards on my landing that has the gravity of a planet, somehow engaging the sole of my foot every night during my journey to the bathroom for my sleepy toilet visit. I’ve hammered it down twice in the last six moths, but it’s just not taken a true hold.
That I am not currently unhappy or lonely, even though I am alone.