A few weeks ago I shared with you this quote by a Russian philosopher: one thing will always remain; simply sitting in a chair and looking into the distance.
Since then I’ve found myself quite a few times doing just that. I’m usually on my own sitting on a bench looking out over Port Philip Bay. I try to fit in at least one decent walk a day and at the end of it grab a coffee and sit for a while. If it’s cold I rug up in a hoodie and a beanie. But most times it’s been pleasantly mild, making lock-down just that much more bearable. One day this week all the benches were occupied with couples chatting so I sat on the grass and leaned against a post. As I looked into the distance, I found myself thinking about all the lives that have been turned upside down and outside in, because of a virus.
Of all the things that are often touted as threats to our way of life or our lives, I don’t think anyone quite anticipated how a microscopic virus would impact upon the world so quickly and so dramatically – especially the depth or breadth of the economic impact and social disruption. But I think most, if not all of us, know deep within ourselves that
“This, too, shall pass”.
The nature of impermanence is such that bad times, as well as good times, never last forever. So even while the world is becoming restless and hungering for this particular time to end, let’s not lose sight of some of the good things in life that we might have rediscovered in recent weeks. For example, the one-way system inside my supermarket sometimes results in having to wait patiently while another customer ponders over which jar of minced garlic to buy. This morning after a long wait at the fresh food stall an elderly woman stepped back so that I could grab a cauliflower. I said thank you. She said thank you for thanking me. I resisted the temptation to say thank you for thanking me for thanking you – we might have been there all day. But you get the point. I know this is a really difficult time for lots of people, but a change has occurred – a kind of niceness has returned to community life. No doubt ‘ this, too, shall pass’ I just hope not too quickly.