Home means different things to different people.
On lockdown we can (like me today) feel trapped at home, in our house, street, village. I’ve loved recent days cycling and gardening, whilst also feeling the fear in my guts for what is coming, as we follow the path of Italy along and up the graph of infection and death.
Some may yearn for a home other than ‘here’. For others home is unsafe or dangerous.
For me, right now, my relationship with home is in a state of flux. It’s only a few days into social isolation, one day into lockdown, but as the pandemic stops us all travelling, with planes grounded and users of public transport limited (in theory) to key workers, the area that we cover on a daily basis has shrunk. I walk down the road with the dog and drive to the supermarket while we wait for a delayed food delivery, and that’s about it.
An article I read today showed how air pollution is being reduced as a result of the restrictions placed upon us (referring to data from China specifically). It feels too early to ask What next? What about after all of this? I know this isn’t a process that we have chosen to go through, but I can’t help wondering, can we use this experience to come to know our home-lands differently? Can we start to value where we live, noticing our non-human neighbours and reaching out in new ways to our human ones?
In my last post I shared how I had walked out from my house, down to the river, and asked it what to do next. In this time where all I was working for, and reaching towards feels like it has been taken away, I asked Who should I be? What should I do?
My time walking, gardening, cycling, making and being with my family makes me start to think that the answer is to value the here and now. Slowing down (here’s a post on that) and valuing local connections. Yes it’s more complicated than that I know, I still need to work out where I get money from, I don’t know exactly what impact this virus will have on my family and my community, but as well as the fear of these unknowns, right now I feel the value of re-connecting and being held.
At the risk of repeating myself in every blog post, Climate Breakdown and Biodiversity Loss require us to come to know ourselves and our place within our communities differently, to know ourselves as a part of the land, to invest in its health, and as part of that, to travel less, consume less. Less charging about, less overreaching, more being present. Investing in belonging and connection – investing along with others in our shared home.
This time it’s not a choice to stay home together, and reduce our impact on our planetary home. But what a difference we could we make if it was. Or as Daniel Christian Hahl puts it…
‘Let’s make this the catalyst for the re-design and regeneration of the human impact on Earth — we can heal the Earth and her people, regenerate ecosystems everywhere, regenerate our cooperative nature and build renewed social cohesion through community solidarity …’