“I’ll just tell you what I remember because memory is as close as I’ve gotten to building my own time machine.”Samantha Hunt
A strange thing happened to me yesterday. I’m in lockdown here at the farm right now, just me and my husband, and our two dogs.
I have internet connection. I am still in touch with my team and my community, and my business is still humming along. Modern technology is a blessing for which I am ever grateful.
Things are still getting done.
But suddenly, everything has slowed down, because we are no longer going out. We are homebodies. That’s all there is.
I was sitting at my kitchen table, here in my little farmhouse. It was late afternoon and I knew that soon I would go and water the vegetable garden, now that the heat of the day had passed.
The dogs were sleeping at my feet, a simple pot of tomato soup simmered on the stove, and the air was yeasty with the fragrance of the loaf of bread I had just baked. Simple everyday things. Slow things.
On my kitchen bench was a sourdough starter I am preparing for a friend.
On the table in front of me were some letters I had written. Letters on real paper, to the children of a friend – they live interstate and I won’t be seeing them for a while. I’d wanted to send them something that they could take from the letterbox and hold in their hands, and come back to any time they wanted to read that letter again. Real letters have a magical quality that a text or email can never quite capture.
Another friend, back in the city, is going for surgery soon. She is unwell, and recovering from a recent operation, but she needs pyjamas and dressing gowns for the weeks and months ahead. Buying online is always a challenge, and I have a light waffle robe I never wear that will fit her perfectly. I dug it out, so that I can post it to her next week.
As I went out onto the veranda to put the robe in in the washing machine I was suddenly transported back to my childhood and to my early days of living away from home. Back before computers and cell phones were a thing. Back before people dined out in cafes or went for coffee more than they stayed at home. Back when people had time. Time for each other, time for their projects, time for just being in the moment, or alone with their thoughts.
The farm was slanted with mellow afternoon sunlight shining through the trees. The air was rich with birdsong. I could feel the trees and the hint of nightfall coolness, and a great sense of calm. The kind of energy that the days of my childhood and early adulthood held, before it all became hustle and busy and never unplugged and never enough time.
I stood for a moment, remembering how life used to feel, and drawing it deep down into my bones. I had not realised how much I have lost, and how much I have missed some of that old, slower, more connected life.
I know many of you will be retreating to self-isolation or are already there, from choice or because of government decree. Nature has forced us to slow down, as Coronavirus requires us to stay home, to look after each other, to reprioritise. We have had to sacrifice our personal freedoms to keep ourselves and each other safer.
It is a terrible time we are in, and there are terrible days ahead, but there is also slanted golden afternoon light, and freshly baked bread, and vegetable gardens and letters to friends, and soup on the hob, and time for ourselves, and that’s a gift in the midst of this crazy year.
Thinking of you, and sending love with a touch of late summer basil and sweet tomatoes from my little farmhouse here in Byron Bay, Nicole xx