Transition is all about using our imagination and creativity to help visualise and achieve a sustainable and happy future. Transition friend Claire G has created a piece of writing to reflect on her time in lockdown.
Arrivals usually mean change to some degree. And novelty can call for fresh appraisals of old responses. Years of rigid refusal dissolve into a liquid unknown. The room becomes populated by guests who may be total strangers to us. In the midst of an unprecedented restriction on our gatherings together as humans we find ourselves present in a congregation of different companions.
Quiet sinks modestly into their chair and gently clasps their hands in their lap. Apprehension perches, fidgeting a little, on the footstool. Wonder spreads her voluptuous skirts wide across the sofa, her expression twinkling with anticipation. Solitude’s open posture replete with sincerity and elegance, graces the high backed chair near the corner.
Quiet and I have an enduring friendship. And lately it’s Sunday morning/bank holiday every day of the week and it feels great. I adore being in their company and the relief they bring with their presence never fails to reinvigorate me. They are merry company, not at all dour or dull as many may be inclined to cast them. Crinkles of joy run like tributaries across their face as I recollect my delight at the absence of aeroplanes heaving their sky-ripping flight paths, tearing at the millenia-honed sensitivities of countless life forms (mine included).
Their smile curves gracefully on their beautiful countenance as my words wriggle gleefully about them, telling of the rediscovered aural delights I am experiencing: blackbird song in the far distance; the church clock chimes beyond the emptied dual carriageway; the sound of every supple new leaf ruffled by the late Spring winds. And the blessed, deeply blessed, relief from the pummelling and life-devouring strain of the passage of vicious metal cages so deceptively and relentlessly sold to us as ‘freedom’. (How imprisoned we are by them. How free we could be if only we recognised them for the horrible entrapments that they are).
Wonder has taken my hand afresh recently and swayed around me with a new dance. Relieved of surrounding din and the painful hurtling of a capitalist society at full throttle, I stoop, peruse and tenderly greet the miracles of verdancy and growth – cherry blossom, lime leaves, beech buds, frog spawn, sycamore seedlings, starbursts of ransom blooms and fragrant draughts of lilac, rowan and hawthorn.
Awkwardness has stepped back from me. I no longer feel such pressure to just move on, to jettison a few moments of longed-for appreciative contemplation. Nowadays I stand more resolutely in my yearning to contact the myriad of wondrous life forms that surround me. And as evening falls I shun the screeching inadequacy of the media and internet for yet another day and find a tranquil place to hear the remnants of the thrush’s song, see the flitting of the bat and marvel at the luminance of Venus’s celestial splendour. I am alive. I wish to sense this as fully as I can. For it is a gift whose generosity is constantly overflowing.
Solitude; suffused with unceasing dignity, yet so maligned. A long-standing chum to me; a character poles apart from the clench of loneliness. Solitude refines. In his presence we can meet with refreshment and revelation. I sense his care as I pedal to places I never go though they are not far away. Roads devoid of threat, cathedral plazas lacking throngs of visitors, shopping streets abandoned to the regal gulls. In Solitude’s fine company I draw in details that have eluded me in the dash of city life. Being still is easy when you throw off the stifling pressure to be extrovert.
Apprehension perches edgily. Tremors of his presence translate to tension in my body. The headaches come. It’s different to pre-lockdown worry. Lashed with a spirit-biting surety of impending disaster, that fear bore a cruel stability. Now – who knows what will happen? We’ve already proved we can turn on our heel and make abrupt changes – changes for the protection of us all.
Apprehension is timid. He glances warily up at me for a brief moment. But he’s not antagonistic. He’s not here to make trouble. He knows he can be widely held in poor perception. Yet he is a friend. The reflection he wills us to embrace can in itself be such a stranger and an unappealing one at that. But he counsels quietly: “Do you see? I’m here to kindle your imagination. Please don’t flinch from me. Stay awhile and entertain the musings that stray at the fringes of your mind. There’s a journey beckoning. A journey that can lead to renewal.”
I’m emboldened. I’m rejecting the conventional more keenly than before. I welcome the visit of the friends. They offer support and a vision. I hope that many others will experience their presence and the gifts they bring. Let’s make their acquaintance and listen to them.
“The market economy story….is just a story we have told ourselves and we are free to tell another, to reclaim the old one.”
Robin Wall Kimmerer, ‘Braiding Sweetgrass – Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants.’
Clare G. is a writer and a friend of Transition Liverpool. Earthworms and compost heaps are where Clare’s interest in environmental issues began.