As this rather soggy summer of 2021 comes to a gentle close and autumn rolls softly in, so the pandemic fades almost imperceptibly, but inevitably, into a world with endemic covid. The long, hot Lockdown days summer of 2020 seem to me almost dreamlike.
After the initial shock and fear, that the apparent certainties of modern life could be so easily swept aside by this tiny, invisible thing, a kind of numb disbelief set in. As the rapid and extensive restrictions took hold, I wondered - a thankfully brief moment of despair - if I might never be able to see my children in person. They're adults, they don't 'need' me, but they don't live in the UK.
And so I soon settled into the strange limbo of Lockdown. The idea crossed my mind to get all my 'paperwork' into order...but it turns out some things really DON'T change, no matter what!!!!!
Working from home presented a slew of new and challenging things to learn and do. And then there was the wonderful weather - and it really was a wonderful summer, an extraordinary blessing in those extraordinary times - I found that painting was the last thing on my mind. The garden called and I answered. I grew garlic and onions, tomatoes and potatoes, lettuce and beans. Sunflowers. Roses. I let the clover grow up and the bees came in droves. I made chutney and jam and feasted on figs from a secret location nearby. I felt very grateful and glad for these simple things, and that I was lucky enough to have them.
I didn't do much in the way of botanical work - which surprised me, it seemed like the obvious moment to take lots of time to indulge in it - but for some still undefined reason, I found I couldn't settle to it. I did do lots of other creative things. I knitted. I rediscovered printmaking, which I continue to explore. I discovered the joys of audio books. I think I really got in touch with my creative self, and somehow the uncertainty that came with lockdown allowed me to let my creative impulses run wild for a while without a specific aim in mind. I did some things I'd been wondering about but hadn't felt I had the time to do. After a while, I stopped listening to the news with baited breath. I took a step back from social media. I was, for the most part, at least in and of myself, content. I often felt sad and worried too, but it gradually became easier to set those discomfiting and depressing feelings aside, and simply 'get on' with other more productive and sustaining activities as they presented themselves.
In the end, it was liberating. I realised that 'being' creative - a maker, an artist, a craftsperson - is not simply who I am, but what I am.