What’s the point in mincing words? I might as well admit it, the new normal has turned me into a voyeur… No bird outside my window is safe these days, their privacy – much like our freedom of movement – is a thing of the past. I’ve already given up on keeping up appearances, thus I no longer put away that telephoto lens; nor do I care what people from nearby buildings think if they see me… during a spying/photo session of their own.
Like so many others, I feel great sadness when I think about missing out on the better part of a season. Spring has come and is about to go without having had much of a chance to notice it, enjoy it… or take it for granted. So here I am, trying to focus on what I have to be grateful about (yes, even we, cynics, occasionally do that). Never before have I thought about having a house with a cute little garden of my own instead of a flat in a large urban area. Yet it could be so much worse… Living in a relatively old building means that I can enjoy some privacy and shade provided by the large trees populating the garden outside my window. I’ve watched nature come back to life from my window sill, trees blooming, green with fresh life, birds nesting and chirping about as they always do, while we humans resorted to our self-preservation instincts and put our lives on hold.
More than ever I am grateful for the safety and shelter of my home, thinking how much worse I could have it… thinking how many people have it so much worse, and how I might have been one of them, had this pandemic hit at a different point in my life. When I remember to see things from that perspective, I find it difficult to complain or ignore everything and everyone I should appreciate.
Instead, I keep myself busy… so many things to do at home… like spy on the new winged neighbours, the magpies. Their arrival has created a stir among the older residents. While the seagulls ignore them, the crows don’t seem too pleased with their presence and the smaller birds, like the sparrows and the turtledoves are quite frightened by the newcomers. To be fair, the magpies have quickly established themselves as the garden bullies. They don’t much care for paparazzi either, as soon as they hear my camera they take off or they taunt me by jumping around frantically. Personally, I’m as impressed with them and their intelligence as I am with the crows’. But when I first noticed them, I couldn’t help thinking of my great-grandmother. She used to be on the lookout for any magpies that might consider taking residence in her garden, because the fiends would steal the freshly hatched chicks.
In my case, home also means peace and quiet this spring. An unexpected, until not too long ago unimaginable first is a quiet, uneventful May 1st. It’s Labour Day in my neck of the woods, usually celebrated with picnics, barbeques… and a trip to the seaside. So those of us already living by the sea know what to expect… Countless parties, concerts and other events stretched over a few days usually mark the beginning of the summer season. Well, not this year… and much like on Easter, I am enjoying this side effect of pandemic. I usually like that lively explosion, I even take part in the general frenzy, but I also can’t say I miss the loud self-entitled invading hordes.
Amy, this week’s host (Lens Artists Weekly Challenge – At Home), mentions home made bread. Yes, it’s been a baking time for me too. Celebrating Easter in lockdown was a new experience, and I’m sure many of us tried to hold on to what feels familiar about the holiday… even an atheist such as myself. Thinking back, reminiscing, virtually connecting with loved ones… and baking some of the traditional goodies, thankful I am still able to overcome anxiety, anger and frustration, and enjoy the day. I’m not too skilled at photographing food, but I thought I’d share some images anyway.
Like I said, lots of things to do at home… like finishing a writing project, or restoring a couple of old pieces of furniture, or taking out my sowing kit and making some cute masks, or tending to my plants. Thank you, Amy, for reminding us to consider the less dark side of this trying situation. For me, this is a good opportunity to start a brief spring series, including some photos I managed to take before lockdown, at the beginning of March, as well as shots from my window. This isn’t how I imagined it, but yes, it’s still spring… and we adapt, we learn to enjoy it in new ways… we can’t let it go by while we sink in despair.
Stay safe, everyone!