It’s Sunday afternoon and I’m watching the wood pigeons do a dance on the lawn. In the trees there are more birds. Calling softly at first, their whispers soon turn to songs, and their songs to whistles — joyous whistles rhythmic with the new spring breeze. Here and there, a cute head pokes out from between the blossoming greenery, a goldfinch or a starling.
Hard to believe it’s spring in the time of Coronavirus.
I watch the birds bounding about while I inhale my lunch, and it makes me smile upon some thought surrounding the simple beauty of life. That such serenity should return to nature whilst we wallow in isolation — it makes me chuckle. The trees too seem to enjoy it. They do their own dance, and when the wind blows harder, they chime orchestrally: a windy, leafy crescendo amongst the branches. When I listen harder I can hear the air moving — nature’s little celebration.
The air that moves — it’s so very blue. It appears to me like a great mirror. A great mirror of some far away sea. Shifting across the mirror are wisps of cloud. Is one of them a spectre’s ship? I ponder this. Could it be the old man that Hemingway thought up? Maybe. He’s searching for his prized fish, proverbially at least. I reflect: I too, am searching for mine.
There are other clouds as well. Clouds shaped like dolphins, like turtles and sharks, like octopuses and whales. As they move, I myself feel moved. In fact, we all do — an entire enclave of human beings, all looking up at the sky and seeing the sea. A sea of dreams as we sit in our gardens.
Somehow in imagining this big sea, I’m conjuring a vision so clear it’s as if I could swim upon it. As if I would row my own little junk out there, the grandiosity of the ocean my enemy and my ambition. I think that maybe, if I was to go out into that sea, maybe I’d finally be free. Maybe I’d achieve some notion of greatness, a level of greatness bound only to what I perceive as truly brilliant. What is it that I love? What is it that makes me feel like I’m right where I need to be? What is it that makes me comfortable in who I am?
Sitting there, languid from a later night and an earlier morn, I become caught in that thought; the sky the water which rises and falls tempestuously. Greatness is out there, and it’s a storm which is all about me.
I decide to write about this storm.
I’ll write about it for me. And for you. And though I’ll do this, in my sea of dreams, for now I watch the birds disappear amongst the trees and shrubberies. The sun is there too, remaining, hanging over us all. It comes over the greatness of the hills and pours out its life. A deft warmth, a coolness remaining in the air, a smile from Helios himself.
I’ll pick up my pen now.
Greatness is out there, in a sea of dreams. The trees move once more — they are so very green — and I lie back, eyes closed to the isolation we find ourselves amidst. I know that I’ll wake aboard my ship, in a sky that’s filled with stars.
~ Samuel Hodges, in isolation — 16th April, 2020