189 – Walking Through Lockdown

And so it goes on.  Coming up to a year, now.  Facebook “Memories” each morning highlight the last of those crowded events we went to back when doing that was normal – a concert, a street party, a packed bar.  Last week Facebook reminded me that this time last year I was on a mini-break in Seville, and heard on the Spanish television news that Spain’s first patient with the virus had been admitted to hospital, right there in Seville.   I turned off the telly and went out to eat in a cozy bar, shoulder to shoulder with strangers, before going out to photograph the magnificent Plaza de España.

On Lockdown Day One in Spain, on March 14th, my blog post mentioned that “I am beginning to wonder what a sofa-fortnight will look like”.  We had no idea it would be a sofa year, that our generation’s “war” would be fought wearing floppy house-clothes and watching Netflix.

For so many people it has been so much harder than that.  Deaths, counted in the tens of thousands.   Last March I mentioned the hospitalisation of a dear friend’s brother in Madrid.  He didn’t make it, she hadn’t been able to visit him, and she couldn’t attend his funeral.  It has meant she can’t move on adequately, she feels misplaced stabs of guilt, whatever we say to comfort her.  Other friends are struggling financially.  Spain is supporting some, but (as in the UK) others slip through the net.  Nobody is saying this is easy.

But for some of us, it has been a year of nesting, baking, touching up the paintwork and the grouting, studying, and walking.  Oh yes, the walking!  On a lazy day, just around the village, popping into a shop or two, waving to neighbours across the square.  Most days, around the edge of the village and into the campo, past the horse and the chickens and admiring the new baby goats, watching the changing seasons from the familiar paths.  If breath allows and it’s not too sunny, up to the top, to the Ermita, and out a little on the Solano road.

Best of all, the longer walk, el Camino de Gonzalo.  Olive groves, big views, and now the end of the almond blossom and the explosion of yellow weeds that cover the ground and brighten the photos.  Mostly empty so the mask can be under the chin (kept handy in case someone is coming the other way) and the fresh air can be gratefully breathed.

They are all familiar paths now.  A new habit that deserves to be kept even once this is all over.  Will it ever be all over?  Hard to say.  But for the time being we walk on, grateful not to be one of the statistics, grateful to not be watching a business dying on its feet, grateful to have food to eat and countryside to walk through, grateful for the things that really matter, the simple things.

©  Tamara  Essex  2021                                 http://www.twocampos.com

7 thoughts on “189 – Walking Through Lockdown

  1. Hi Tamara
    Glad to hear that you are alive and kicking. Olive season has all but finished, here in Jaén Province. Instead of the buzz of tree shakers we now have the hum of chain saws pruning the old wood from the trees, wood that will eventually be burnt in the log-burner. Smoke from the twigs and minor tree debris fills the valley and it is difficult to see the other side. La suegra (age 90) has had a her first jab and is due the second in two week’s time.
    Keep well and, just as importantly, cheerful.

  2. Tamara, your story of the past year is the story of many of us lucky ones, just with different landscapes and a different rhythm to the seasons. Here in England this is our first warm weekend. The snowdrops are still here, primroses are emerging in sheltered spots and daffodils are opening in people’s gardens. For others it has been hard, with losses of loved ones, lost jobs, illness and other struggles. Let’s hope the better times are nearly here and here to stay.

  3. Lovely as always to read a new post from you. I so envy you your beautiful walks. I live near a busy road in Northamptonshire and it’s difficult to walk to a quiet spot and using the car to travel to one is not advised in these times of Lockdown. When we visit Spain, we can complete our walk around the block without seeing a single car or even person. Your mention of birdsong and that “we have forgotten to hear it” really struck a chord with me. Last Spring the weather here was so beautiful and at last we were able to see and hear how lovely everything really was. Blue skies, no planes, very few cars, empty streets, birdsong, flowers. We had to stay at home, we had time to try new hobbies, to read, to just be still. Everything seemed so vibrant, at odds with the terrible pandemia hanging over us all. So many have lost their lives or will suffer long term effects from Coronavirus. Who would have thought that one year on we would still be struggling to get back to normal daily life. My husband and I have had our first dose of the vaccine, with the second booked for May. Marvellous progress is being made here with the vaccination program and we feel very lucky. We have so missed our visits to the small Spanish town we love and hope very much to see it again later this year. Stay safe and keep well Tamara.

  4. Hello Tamara, nice to hear from again. Here in Perthshire, Scotland. We have had signs of spring with it being mild the past week. I aam also keeping sane by a walk every day With the added bonus of more wildlife I think due to the lack of traffic and people. Lots of us oldies have had the vaccine and its amazing what a confidence boost it gives you. Hopefully we can get back to some kind of normal soon. Take care, regards Margaret in Perthshire

  5. Hi Tamara. I really miss your articles. I waited patiently for your installments each month. I hope you are well and happy and safe. Even the shortist of columns would suffice 🤓🇨🇮👍

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