We have spent the last week preparing for the shut down that we knew would be coming. It started fully today. Our business is now on hold and the charity library where I am a trustee has shut its doors on government orders. Even though we already worked from home whilst educating our five children, there is an absence of emails and phone calls that will take some getting used to.
Our friends and family have so far stayed healthy and we are in constant contact over text and Skype. Our children send drawings and letters to their grandparents over email.
I am glad it is spring and very grateful we have a little garden.
We cannot explain to our two autistic sons or little daughter what is happening in the world but this has turned out to have a happy side effect. The fact that they live completely for the present moment is teaching me how to do so too.
Today our daughter spent time just watching the clouds go by. Every time she spots a cloud that she thinks looks like a rabbit, she squeals, runs over to me, grabs my hand and pulls me over to see.
Our second son’s apple tree, planted last autumn, has leaves forming. He knows that insects help pollinate flowers and I found him carefully moving spiders from the bark to other areas of the garden, so that their webs did not catch any of the bees by mistake.
The ground has dried out enough in the spring sunshine for us to go barefoot. This is our daughter’s first spring where she can walk and run about (she was just learning to crawl this time last year) and she likes to scrunch her toes in the grass.
Each morning I hide little fir cones around the garden for her to find. She darts all over searching for them, handing them to me as she runs by.
I notice the unearthly quiet of a busy world ground to a stop. Usually there is a constant distant hum of traffic from the city outskirts and a nearby lane. Now I can only hear birdsong, the sound of children playing in gardens nearby and the ripple of our garden stream.
The bright sunlight this morning showed up my younger children’s fingerprints on the windows, and as I was polishing the glass in a bedroom that overlooks the green, I could see other people doing the same. Soon, many neighbours had flung their windows open and we all waved at each other, shouted hellos and gave a thumbs up.
The seasons keep on moving, even though we have all paused. As we come out of winter, my family naturally begin to change the rhythm of our days. Our school lessons move out into the garden, or at the very least we have the doors next to the kitchen table thrown open, and the breeze coming in. The house feels airy and fresh, no need for scented candles or oil burners when the real smell of grass and blossom is drifting in.
—Keep safe and well everyone. With heartfelt thanks to all those who are working to keep us safe, especially those on the frontline in the NHS and hospitals around the world.—
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