I like December especially now that it means not going to work. I feel I can enjoy the end of this year; fading with the light as winter is let in by Autumn. Life sometimes feels a bit lack lustre at this time. Especially this year, when we all teeter on the precipice of another lockdown. We have reached the end of lockdown #2 and have been ushered into a new phase of our countries attempts to slow the spread of Covid.Here in Essex we are in Tier 2 . What this basically means is we can’t do anything more than what we were allowed to do before Lockdown- other than go shopping.All children’s activity centres are still closed as are many other potential sources of amusement for small people.The prospect of being in close proximity to many eager Christmas shoppers doesn’t grab me, so we head back.
This is disappointing for smallest as yesterday he told me he wants “to jump” , to run “ and in reference to the swimming pool “I just want to splash Mummy”. He was basically telling me that he had more energy than he knew he could use in the front room , hence today’s excursion to the Fields.
I have mentioned these fields before as they have been our place of choice throughout lockdown . First as a place to fill time but gradually as a place where time became represented differently. It opened up space where I have made decisions and new angles of life and relationships were uncovered. Without the chaos of the old , life took on took on a seasonal rhythm, emerging as I began to see what was around me.
Smallest seem beleaguered as we drove up to the site where we park. “We already go here Mummy. Loads of times”.
His mood expressed via the bottom lip was tempered though, when he looked out over the field. All he said was “oh” and I looked to take in what he saw. The change was stark .
The hedgerows have been taken back and the fields were already swaddled with the first signs of a new crop, green of course and so in contrast to our last visit, where it was heavy with yellow wheat. The oaks which line the paths had shed and stood in their majesty. He walked on clear paths and then ran and ran. He stopped only to examine the troughs created by farm machinery; staggering its way alongside fields it has serviced.
A nostalgic undertone emerged from beneath a cloud. I remembered the fields of April ,May and June and felt lifted by the simplicity of the memory. Created with no effort, no money; a complete absence of first world reality.
Meanwhile smallest scouted the puddles and dipped in his stick, then very carefully waded through. With each puddle confidence grew until at last turning toward the next path, he jumped and jumped and shouted “mummy I’m jumping” and “I’m splashing look at me”. The afternoon carried on in that vein and by the time we had circled our way back to the car he had a managed to tick all his required boxes for fun. He had run, jumped and splashed – the only thing missing, other children , which he pointed out, “well I can’t go near them anyway Mummy” and “you are the fastest runner”. It is true.
I wondered about the year. Sense by sense we are lulled into the last months. We have acclimatised and our senses have settled on our new surroundings . Birdsong which drowned evenings has dropped a notch and the sound of laughter from the scatted neighbourhood barbecues has disappeared. The fireworks which spattered the skies since November 5th are silent and the trees stand bare , resolute in their preparation for spring. And on a different scale we have accepted the new normal.
Thinking forward, one thing I most look forward to is doing this all over again (minus the pandemic) .These exact same walks which offer us completely different landscapes through the seasons. Walks where smallest gets what he needs and I the food to wonder.
So , as 21 tugs at the corner of 20 , I wonder whether what we need for humanity has been noticed. Just as I can look at the pictures and see the small differences which transformed mine and smallest perception of our field; can we as a collective see how little changes in each of our lives can transform this planet for all our futures? I am hopeful; but then my glass is always half full.
I wonder what you hope for in the year ahead?