So this weekend has been really enjoyable and I’ve hardly left home. We had a fun firepit evening, with our daughter and our friend, having curry and great chat. We laughed and that was so welcome. The next evening we had virtual pre dinner drinks with friends ( the drink wasn’t virtual you understand!) on zoom. It just made the evening and we avoided politics and pandemics mostly. It was almost normal, or maybe I’ve just forgotten what that is?
Then today we met our son, daughter-in-law and grandson in the Botanic gardens. I stepped outside onto my mobility scooter armed with winter woolies and realised just how mild it was. We still have our heating off during the day, unheard for this time of year in Edinburgh. Cue conversation about climate change and an ominous hint at what that means for years to come. The autumn leaves were glorious but no longer on the trees. Their glory is fading and it’s hard not to think of winter edging forwards.
In the distance Edinburgh castle sits caught in a heavy dark cloud. It was morning. Edinburgh suits winter. Those medieval streets are surprised by the light. Days of the haar muffles the life of the city and those behind the doors. It’s lived through the plague certainly but their ways of handling pandemics were unacceptably grim.
I turned around looking for the family and there was a large yellow inflatable monkey attached to the side of Inverlieth house, in the centre of the gardens. It was raining. Of course. You understand this is the year that nothing surprises you any more. We continued our search in the rain and there they were. Davie on a squirrel hunt. The squirrel runs off in the way our cat does when he runs towards them. Grandad, Grannie he says and gives us a hug. How precious these hugs are.
There were flowers, fallen leaves, robins, bold crows and rows of winter vegetables and herbs to entertain on our walk in the rain. An occasional ride on my lap on the scooter is a highlight for Davie and I: his pleasure is the scooter lights and horn and mine the hugs.
We sat in the rain watching him roll in the grass which was now mud. Oh how 2020 this is: sitting beside an inflatable monkey, stealing as much time with family as possible and if you get wet take your hood off and roll in the mud. It could be a wise saying on gift card!
This week I’ve been reflecting on hope. The talk of vaccines of course has contributed. It’s what’s been missing isn’t it, during this second wave of the virus. No rainbows or applauding with your neighbours, just hard work from health and care workers who themselves are most at risk of the virus. No just an expectation that they will be there for us. There was no furloughed summer for them of course. Who needs hope more than they do? It will be all over for Christmas exposed as the lie we all knew it to be.
So hope has to be found in the everyday. One of my most valued learning from studying mindfulness is the importance of being in the moment. The only thing that is certain. Being caught in the past causes low mood and depression and ruminating on the future can bring on anxiety. But staying in the present allows you to see the beauty in the fallen leaves, the moody Castle and the friendship that brightens our lives. And especially when we are able to capture the love and occasional hugs from family.
The craziness, fears and losses of 2020 has certainly reminded us of what is most important. That’s so 2020.