We’ve had some glorious sunsets in my part of the world over the last few days; orange, mauve and indigo streaking above sparkling white fields, a huge red moon shining through charcoal woods and a canopy of bright stars above.
I was hoping that today, the last evening of the year, would follow suit, having planned to walk up onto the moor around 11.30pm and welcome the New Year in sitting on my favourite big old boulder, with my hands wrapped around some mulled wine and my husband’s arms wrapped around me. Under the starlit sky, we would be able to see for miles and watch the fireworks above the villages and towns below. Oh, so romantic!
But today, as the light from the last day of 2020 fades, all I can see through the window above my desk is freezing mist, which hovers above the fields and somewhere joins an oppressive grey sky and I begrudgingly admit that my walk is probably off.
I go downstairs to make a cup of tea, past a twinkling Christmas tree and whilst I’m waiting for the kettle to boil I tune in to the TV.
“It makes me so angry.” A masked doctor in a hospital is saying. “Don’t they realise this is not a joke? My colleagues and I are watching people die in here every day. It’s a mask, all people have to do is wear a mask. We had a delivery guy turned up here yesterday, to deliver PPE equipment for our intensive care teams and in he strides with no mask on and proceeds to get shirty when I asked him to wear a mask.”
And he went on. “The problem is (that) people don’t seem to want to listen to the real news, the quality news, the news that informs them about what is really happening here. They get stuck in a loop of social media telling them the same thing over and over, instead of taking the time to read or listen to quality in- depth information. They get fed what they want to see and hear. We can’t show them what’s going on in here, we can’t show them what this horrendous disease does to lungs, liver, skin, brain, we can’t let the cameras in or even relatives in anymore, and so people walk along the London streets, or Birmingham or wherever, past the hospitals, without knowing what’s going on inside.”
“Thank-you Professor Mongomery”, said the presenter and the interview ends.
I make my tea and come upstairs to write my journal, but instead find myself looking for the whole interview on Google and listening to it from the beginning. His message is clear; if you decide to have a last fling this year, it may well be your last fling. Or you may be one of the 50% who doesn’t know they’ve got the virus and pass it on to someone who, in a week or so, arrives at a hospital where doctors like Hugh have to decide, literally decide, if this person, this life, this father, mother, wife, son has a fighting chance of making it; because only then, is there an intensive care bed with their name on it.
I’m sharing Hugh’s interview and asking you to share it too, in the hope that it may persuade someone to change their plans tonight and not go to their friend’s house tonight. Yes, it’s New Years Eve and many of us want to share a drink, or some music or some conversation or a even a boulder with loved ones, but what else will you be sharing?
We don’t know what Brexit is going to mean, or how the loss of schooling might affect our kids, or when each of us will get a vaccine, it’s all unclear, but what is clear is that, as we live through the final hours of 2020, the way we live them can potentially save hundreds of thousands of lives.
You come to me asking for treasure.
I take you to a wide field and hand you a spade.
“Dig” I say, “for I assure you there is treasure in this field.”
Do you dig?
And if so, for how long?
Half an hour?
“What’s the treasure?” you might ask. “Is it worth digging for?”
“Oh yes,” I say, “it’s the most valuable thing in the world.”
And so you dig.
After half an hour you discover an ancient coin you think may be very valuable. “Is this it?” you ask.
“Oh no,” I say, “for although money is valued by many, it is not the most valuable thing in the world.”
You carry on digging.
After a day, your back and shoulders ache and you can’t help thinking ‘this is crazy’, but you carry on and discover an underground spring.
“Is this it?” you ask.
“Oh no” I say, “for although all living things need water, it is not the most valuable thing in the world.”
So you move to another part of the field and carry on digging.
As the week goes on, you start to notice little birds hopping about as you dig, pecking at the worms you are uncovering. You start feeling stronger and enjoy the sun on your back. Your body aches less and the blisters on your hands heal.
The wind sings in the long grass and bees buzz around the meadow flowers.
Every day you dig somewhere new and every day you notice something new. Ants scurrying, a horse whinnying, the cooling rain, the rich soil.
On the 7th day you stand with your foot on the spade and look towards the hills feeling at peace with yourself and the world.
Just at that moment, I pass by and it takes you a while to notice me.
When you do, you say “I’ve been digging all week and I still haven’t found anything.”
“I think you have.” I say.
If you enjoy my blogs, you can read more of my work in my book available here www.amazon.co.uk/Words-Walks-Wisdom-Wendy-Bowers/dp/1671172353