Life in Lockdown – by Emily Downie

Lockdown has been a bizarre period for everyone. Being separated from loved ones so suddenly, without the knowledge of when we will reunite. I can confidently say that this is something I never imagined I would experience in my lifetime, yet here we are. This began as a daunting, overwhelming ordeal, but the more time we had to adjust to this becoming the new normality, the more I appreciated particular aspects of my life I had more or less taken for granted pre-lockdown. Some people have been fortunate to be ‘holed up’ with friends and family, and I for one have fallen into this category.

Being in lockdown with others involves spending every day together, seeing the same people and doing the same activities. At times this can be truly testing of patience, but in majority it provides a wonderful opportunity to learn things about one another and grow closer. Our family has spent this time playing games, having summer drinks (Pimms, of course), conversing and laughing more. I have found myself consistently connecting online with loved ones – both those with whom I am already close, and those with whom my connection is increasingly evanescent. Contacting the latter meant I was able to rekindle past relationships and connect with those who, despite not having been in contact in a long time, still held a warm place in my heart. This is an
activity which I previously felt I never had the time to do, but with the world plunged into a period of uncertainty, everything which had made life so hectic was suddenly put on the back burner, leaving me with a considerably more relaxed schedule. This was the time to grab a
paintbrush and drag it across the canvas like you were the next Matisse; the time to pull out the trainers enviously obscured at the back of the closet and to go for that jog; to open your mind and take an online course; to dust off old, fading books with cracked spines and pour through them.

People began to look after themselves more, to appreciate the smaller things. I took the time to indulge in more self-care, such as journalling and meditation. The country became more appreciative of the wonderful service which NHS workers provide for us everyday; the first time neighbours rolled up blinds and swung open their windows, leaning out into the street and applauding for our health service was a heart-warming moment. It painted a beautiful picture of unity throughout the country, portraying a message of hope that we will get through this as a nation.

Aside from everything which people began to do for themselves, something took place in the background – the Earth began to heal. With people gone from the streets, and littering and pollution reduced to a bare minimum, the Earth began to wake from its heavy slumber. It was
as if it had shaken off the grey blanket of damage that humans had imposed on it since as far back as one can remember, and began to blossom. I remember like it was yesterday seeing images of dolphins and fish swimming into the canals in Venice, the water crystal clear and
shimmering in the sunlight. In Wales, mountain goats could be seen wandering the empty streets.

The hole in the ozone layer began to heal, CO2 emissions dropped to record low levels. Living in central London, it is normally with great difficulty that one can spot stars past the yellow glow of the city lights and the air pollution, but since lockdown began I have never seen the night as clear as these, like a ginormous blue blanket was swept across the city and billions of glowing lights dotted into our vision. Some say lockdown has been a test from Mother Earth, a message to demonstrate the immense impact of humans in the world. We have done so much damage in such little time, and our disappearance off the face of the
Earth for only a matter of months has seen such spectacular progress, that we have finally allowed the Earth to heal. Here’s to hoping that, when we return back to reality, we don’t slip back into our old habits. Here’s to hoping that this teaches us, as a human race, the importance of protecting the beautiful planet we inhabit.

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