June reflections: Observation Notes 109-110

Observation Note 109: No time for sitting. I don’t sit in the quiet of my backyard. I may have all the tea trees, lilly-pillys, bottle brushes, peach trees, lemon trees all framing the lush green grass bu they do not interest me.

Noisy miners in the grevilleas, rainbow lorikeets in the lilly-billy, pigeons on the tea trees. Indian mynahs nested in the old unused chimney of our home regularly swooping down at our dogs, intimidating them to steal their food. For years, I stand over Bo and Cleo while they eat, a long range water pistol in my hand to spray the mynahs waiting for my exit. No harm comes to them, just a water stream to create a barrier between them and the eating dogs.

The quiet back yard holds no interest for me. It brings me no comfort. It’s primary use is for the dogs to run around, to sun themselves on our outdoor table and chairs, to play hide and seek amongst the clivias and box hedges and [whatever those weird plants are], and to bark their hellos to the neighbour’s dog through the fence.

Observation Note 110: Do I really feel this way? Most people I know in Australia relish their backyards but for me it was a place best left to the birds, to the bat-shit-scary rat that always seems to saunter out of my garage, to our dogs. The occasional possum and the nightly fruit bats, and to our never-ending laundry air drying off lines. The view through our back doors so pretty yet this small square of nature holds little appeal for me. The backyard to me is a place to escape, to not engage with others. However, my front verandah is all about looking across to my neighbours as they walk past, drive pass, ride pass, be it on foot, by car, bike or pony.

I’ve written about my verandah before (see Observation Notes 89-90) and my love affair with it has not diminished at all. But my attendance to it has waned this year as I have been out of the house a lot more, teaching in person, and running workshops across Sydney. I go out to my mum’s home, I drive across the city to meet up with a friend, I travel West to buy my cashews and pistachio nuts from the nutroasters half an hour from home. I go to the new Greek pasticceria in the suburb next to mine. I feel like I am too busy again. I am rushed. I don’t sit. I don’t read. I don’t watch anything any more. And all this energised movement is all done in an N95 mask. I am not in denial, the world should not revert to the Before Times, I am willing to move in the world masked and ready for the future, but it is all starting to tire me.

This is weird to admit: I miss the restfulness of being in lockdown.

15 thoughts on “June reflections: Observation Notes 109-110

  1. I do too. I did so much during the lockdown: cooked and baked and read and taught my classes and walked. I don’t like all this rushing around. But what I learned from lockdown, I’m not sure how to get it back.

    • Thirded. The lack of urgency for most things was very restful, despite the stress. I think it only worked because everyone was doing it at the same time. When we had the omicron surge, my family locked down again, but it wasn’t at all the same, because life was still going on and chaotic.

      • It’s like a dream now, that early 2020 lockdown, but it leveled everything so well. I think we’ll be thinking about it for a long time. And now it’s “things fall apart, the centre cannot hold.”

      • And, frankly, I’m saying this from a position of privilege: I didn’t lose my job, so I never had to worry about how I was going to keep going. People must’ve been worried sick. And I was in a DreamLand of Glorious Suspension. I miss it, but I know we can’t live like that.

        • Oh yes, I was so, so lucky. My husband already worked from home and his job is pretty essential, my daughter had moved into her studio, our neighborhood is very walkable. I’ve never been so happy to live in a boring suburb, or so sorry for people with young children.

        • The dreamland certainly had its own unique anxieties. Fine while we were at home but not as fine when we would shop for food or someone breathed in our vicinity.

            • We were able to have food delivered — another very lucky thing. After the fear of not being able to feed my child was calmed, the worst aside from missing my family and worrying about my mom was this claustrophobic, draggy feeling, like I was in a dream where I needed to run and couldn’t.

              • Me too, I had food delivered for the first few months. I am fascinated by pandemic dreams and sleep stuff: I think I was sleepwalking for a week or two, never before, or since in my life!

                • The “oh no, I’m out in public and no one’s wearing a mask!” dream? I had that many times. My husband too, I think.

                  I miss how it felt like people everywhere were experiencing something together, and mostly trying to make things better for each other.

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