Lockdown Blues at midnight dark, lockdown green in morning sun. Waiting for birdsong at dawn, like grey punctuation. If Time is the fourth dimension, then love must be the fifth, though the physicists would have it otherwise. But if Time is a river, it is no longer flowing freely down to the sea of eternity. It is all sludged up, clogged with a terrible algal bloom, dammed on pandemic rocks. Mouldering, festering, stuck, yet somehow still passing, for still we grow older, grow old.
Yearning, if this be possible, for that first and shocking lockdown, the time of stopping, of silent streets and silent skies, breathable beautiful clear blue air. The time when time stopped, when we all rediscovered Mother Earth and our hidden pagan selves, even amidst the suffering and the death. When time was measured by our Thursday evening ritual, passionate and transient. Set the alarm for 7.55 pm, or you may forget and miss the moment. Step outside, outside your gates for once. Clap your hands, bang saucepans, wave like an idiot to the neighbours you never see. Feel a momentary glow; love the nurses, love the doctors, imagine for a fleeting second their lives on the wards, behind their masks, behind those sterile walls.
Ah, how long ago and far away it seems, straining to look back through the fog of grief from these harsher, more cynical times. Now we all wear masks. Now we dress from the waist up only, forgetting what meeting means. The Plague grinds us down, till we lose the sense of what it is to be human. To meet in the flesh, to dance together, to laugh as one, to sing. To inhabit a room. To touch, to touch for real, beyond the dead and godforsaken screen.
The opposite of love, Steve Biddulph says, is not hate. The opposite of love, he says, is Rush. Even in locked up locked down times, it is possible to rush. To forget what the Buddhists taught you, to forget to touch base with your soul. To rush from stuck-at-home work to stuck-at-home dinner to stuck-at-home plastic entertainment. Vanity, vanity, all is vanity, all is plastic.
Fighting the sense of futility – how easy it is to lose your mind! Perhaps, in losing each other, we have all lost our minds? How hard it is to slow down enough to remember, to re-member your body, your spirit, your self. Perhaps, without each other, it is not truly possible at all. Perhaps, without each other, we face simply the void.
The silver stream of time will only flow again when we are reunited. Because time is not really measured out in teaspoons, in seconds or in hours, it is not even measured by the sun and moon. It is measured by other people. When we can sit in a circle again, hold hands together under a common roof or the open sky, then our arrested lives will be released, and time will run like a river, down to the sea once more.