Summer has become a friend, in recent months. It’s provided a sunlit haven as we continue studies and projects; while maintaining contact with loved ones. I’m fortunate to live near much of my immediate family, so baked goods dropped at doorsteps and video chats, have provided relief. Habits we’ve had since moving in, back in the late 1990’s, have minimised the disruption. Making cleaning products that are Earth-friendly and simple, cooking from scratch, home education, creative projects and working in the garden have continued.
I miss cafes, wandering places of interest and the occasional gig, though look forward to when I can do that again with family and friends. I’ve not been abroad on a plane since 2002 (a way to reduce my carbon footprint), though occasionally long to. Videos of places around the world on a screen are fascinating to watch and I wander woodlands locally, when possible. Hobbies have provided solace and email, letters and phone calls kept us in touch.
The pandemic brought to the foreground ongoing conversations we have about ways to adapt and improve our self-reliance. We are on a planet designed to comfortably support 4 billion and our population is approaching double that. It makes sense to reduce consumption, conserve resources and consider what is vital and what is not. The pandemic galvanised us to increase efforts in small ways within the restrictions currently; using up materials we have to complete jobs, donating what we no longer want or need. It was cheering to see people turning to home projects and there was a lot of joy-sharing online to lift spirits.
On our little patch, we collect rainwater, build up the soil, grow things and reduce our consumption of utilities by tracking them. We find creative ways to re-purpose, resolve or repair things. Plant-based eating and a natural approach to skincare and beauty keeps shopping simple. None of this is ground-breaking, though it reduces the inconveniences in times of challenge. That way, our energy is saved for bigger issues and finding solutions that we can build into our lives. Issues that will increase as the temperature and population does. Small changes – ongoing – contribute towards peace of mind. Moments in the garden and on local heaths recently, have reminded us that nature goes on – so can we.
A lot that is long overdue, is finally becoming a reality or showing signs that it’s going in a healthier direction. We all deserve love, respect and the dignity to live freely, equally and sustainably on this planet. The figures for those that have died, through pandemic, climate change or hate, are terrible. There are big battles being fought in the world currently. Our collective effort as a species within our own – humbling how small it is – sphere of influence, drives change. It all contributes. It all deserves celebration. There are amazing signs of regeneration and hope.
I’ve been working on a book I began writing last year and home education. I’m almost as new to it as everyone else; having begun last Autumn when poor Ofsted reports and lack of support for dyslexia, led us to make the choice. Each morning I surrender to the rhythms of the day; work, studies, exercise, home/garden chores, errands and hobbies. On weekends, there are movies and family time. I continue to streamline and am meditating and walking more.
Long are the days… and each day is where we can make the most change. Together. I’m ignoring the tantrums, terror-spreading and trolls online – there’s been far too much of that. I’m offline a lot more and it feels natural, I’m old enough to remember a time without social media. At least in nature any rubbish becomes goodness for new growth. I’m excited to see how humanity and nature will collaborate next 🙂
All photos copyright © Louise Ann Knight