While the world takes a breath


I know we’re in the middle of an awful time.

People are sick and dying, all over the world we’re at the mercy of a common enemy that we don’t as yet have any way to attack, nor do we have any means to defend ourselves, apart from social distancing and isolation.

The world is taking a breath and exhaling in a long and luxurious fashion. Life is slower in many ways, smaller in many ways, and I can’t help but admit that I’m loving it.

I’m loving being at home. I know that I am privileged, living here in South Australia. Both our State and Federal governments have done well in doing what we can in this situation. The people have been sensible on the whole, and embraced the new restrictions gracefully, understanding the benefits for the common good.

My mind is working differently in this slow lane, and I’m remembering things that I thought I had forgotten, things from so long ago it seems like another life entirely.

Hubby and I walked the dogs the other day, and at one point we crossed a dry creek bed. My mind went back to when I was four or five years old, perhaps younger. We lived across the road from a large wood. I was forbidden to go there because of all manner of unnamed dangers. However I thought I had a handle on them as I knew all the fairy tales and what they said about going into the woods.

The problem was the three or four other children I played outside with were all months or one or two years older than me and they would lead us towards the woods and I would follow, despite knowing it was forbidden.

Just after entering the woods we would come across an obstacle. There was a small stream with muddy banks. It always went the same way; my older and taller companions would jump the stream one by one, clearing the banks. I would then try to do the same, but inevitably would land in the glaur, or mud.

We would play for a while amongst the trees, and then on return once again I would land in the middle of the glabber (yes, Scots do have a lot of words for mud).

I would go home, my feet slurping and squelching, my shoes and white socks covered in mud up to the ankles, and the conversation would always go the same way.

Mum: Have you been over to the woods?

Me: No (squelch, schlurp).

Mum: Then how did your feet get all wet and your shoes and socks all muddy?

Me: I don’t know.

Mum: You don’t know?

And then I’d get a couple of belts before she cleaned me up.

I wonder why I never learned.

But actually, thinking about it, I did learn. I knew what the consequences would be every time I went to the woods, but I had such a good time playing there that I was prepared to wear it. 

Eventually I got taller and was able to jump the stream without getting wet, and she never knew that I got to walk amongst the hip-high swathes of bluebells that carpeted those woods in summer. That was my secret. Until now.

And then suddenly I’m 58 years old and I don’t need that skill for jumping streams, because for much of the time the creeks are dry here in Australia, and I have a handsome husband to hold out his hand to help me across.

Another thing that the self isolation situation has brought about is that I’ve got back together with my colleagues Kate and Kehau and we’re ‘getting the band back together’. We toured a comedy show for about five years, called Three Stuffed Mums. Since about 2015 we’ve all been doing our own thing, comedy wise, but now we’re about to start doing an online show – The Viral Edition – to try to inject some levity into the new way we’re living.

Check us out at the Three Stuffed Mums facebook page for more details.

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