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, garden visits at safe distance 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. Cafe’s, restaurants or gigs are a rare treat. I’ve not been abroad or on a plane since 2002, so there was no loss felt there. Hobbies have provided solace and email, letters and phone calls kept us in touch with family and friends.
Adapting has been a slow path we’ve walked for over 2 decades, though we shifted up a gear when the pandemic hit. It brought to the foreground ongoing conversations we have about the future and potential 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, about life. The pandemic galvanised us to increase our efforts; using up materials we have to complete jobs, selling or donating what we no longer want or need. It was cheering to see many people turning to home projects when the lockdown hit and there was a lot of joy-sharing online to lift spirits.
On our little patch, we collect rainwater, build up the soil, grow plants and reduce our consumption of utilities a little each year. We find creative ways to re-purpose, resolve or repair things. Slowly, the work is done. Plant-based eating and a natural approach to skincare and beauty keeps shopping simple, occasional and reserved to essentials. 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 for them that we can build into our lives. Issues that will inevitably increase as the temperature and population does. Small changes – ongoing – contribute towards peace of mind. If there are tough times in the future, stripping away the inessential to live a life focussed only on what truly is loved and matters, makes that challenge easier to bear. Moments in the garden and on local heathland more recently, have reminded us that nature continues on – so can we.
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 only begun last Autumn when poor Ofsted reports and lack of support for dyslexia, led us to make the choice. The steep learning curve last year aided us in weathering the shift. We took a few days to process and adapt our routines, though are grateful that is all was needed, as many are going through far worse.
Meanwhile, 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.
Each morning I surrender to the rhythms of the day; lay out work, studies and reading for the morning, tackle home and garden chores, organise errands and anything else needed. On weekends, there are movies and family time. When it all overwhelms, there are hugs and early nights. I’ve streamlined as much as I can and increased meditation and exercise. Some things I’d been delaying, so it’s humbling to think, “It took a pandemic, though I’m finally getting on with…”
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 – there’s been far too much of that. At least in nature any rubbish becomes goodness for new growth. I’m excited to see how humanity and nature will collaborate next 🙂