Corona Karuna

Resolved to complete what’s begun, I visit the community garden, bring home fruit, hull and eat raspberries (not before drawing them), colour, scan and send the pic to friends. Small satisfactions.

Lockdown day 21. Two weeks ago the grocery shop felt eerie: the spaced-out queue snaking around the carpark; the sanitiser; the distancing; the grim care we were all taking; being barked at for stepping over a blue line; germ phobia between groceries and car then adding bleach between car and aunt, aunt and car (who has the germs? I forget); the sanitiser (blow the nose, sanitise again)… I had a tiny weep for us all.

Then, today, I was at Vege Boys before it opened. Whisked around, then laughed with the owner about sudden cravings for takeaways: fish and chips (me, although we hardly ever eat them) and butter chicken (her). Whisked on through the supermarket in record time and, except for two tiny post-Easter bunnies, stuck to the list. Even though I was buying for two households, it was fast, as they intended: no queue, no pause, no bagging of items, no small-talk, and anyway the new plexiglass screen and face mask between me and the checkout operator’s words made them indecipherable.

The aunt was in good cheer, still a little baffled by my insistence on bringing her groceries each week. (‘But I can just pop over the hill in the car.’ ‘No, over-70s are advised…’ ‘Oh yes … vulnerable.’ I left her to unpack the fruit, veg, soup and packages, all mildly tinged with janola.

Lunch was a Skype call with C and R. They were eating leftovers from plastic snap bowls. We slurped pumpkin soup prepared with the aunt in mind. We learned from the doctor that although covid-phobia is high, bike accident cases are way down, along with the incidence of common-garden flu. I suggest we lock down every April in order to cleanse Aotearoa of incipient winter ailments.

Much has been written about the possible awful outcomes of this pandemic, mainly to do with the over-exertion of power by governments and the under-performance of ‘the economy’. At least as much has crossed my screen about the possible magnificent outcomes of this great, sorrow-tinged semi-colon in time (it’s not a full stop, nor is it a colon, which I think of as an equals sign [pandemic: med panic]; we don’t want after to be the same as before), mostly to do with our rediscovered, revivified fellow-feeling, Earth-feeling, creature-feeling, community-feeling, feeling-feeling and the slow, spacious kindliness we begin to sense underlies it all.

a. awaiting deployment on keyboard since who knows what viral remnants hide in its suddenly nasty crevices
b. in recommended dilution for application everywhere
c. we never had more than 30 ml of sanitiser—making it last another week
d. things we get around to while confined to barracks—making the bath fairy
e. true, there’s no e
f. new attire for when visiting aunt
g. polystyrene shed from pouf
h. shred shed from R’s yoga mat
i. mirror shed from Indian cushion

9 responses to “Corona Karuna”

  1. Loved this and the dawning’s, knees clicking, know the feeling. You paint pictures with your words then you, draw, nice!! Ah all the useless theory for class 2, motorhome. Strapping and loading, log books and driver fatigue. Corona Karuna out at last. Well done.

  2. Lovely to hear you putting pen and paint to paper again, Penelope. I salute your positivity. I also loved the sheds!
    Cheers, Ed

  3. I have no particular bias re over-70s, Prue — approaching that number fast enough — however, all ours have been warned to stay home rather than shop (and my aunt is over 80) … many, like you, are doubtless still gambolling around their neighbourhoods and gardens. What is it about knees? Mine click and occasionally lock. The more walking the happier they are, though, seems to me.

  4. Careful with those ‘over 70’ comments! This one is relishing her age, despite knee issues. Great blog despite all!

  5. Thanks for visiting, Fran. I am lucky to have an aunt still alive, and she happens to be a twin, so there are two, both in Dunedin. As for the ‘tiny sheds’, I’m always looking out for things that are easy to draw. 😉

  6. I love this Penelope – words & pictures both! Especially the tiny “sheds”. And how nice to have an aunt