Life in our home has become simpler, pared back to basics. All the things I cheerfully filled every day with – the volunteering; the classes and choir; the must-get-to-the-shops; the to-do list; even seeing friends – have all vanished. Astonishingly, I don’t mind. The one thing that is a constant now is Daily Exercise, as prescribed by the Government: ‘People can leave their homes for exercise once a day’. For Malcolm, it’s a bike ride. For me, it’s a walk.
Denied trips out to the Dales and wild places, I’m exploring our home patch anew- every ginnel, every bridle way, every woodland and farmland path. My Daily Exercise sometimes lasts an hour, more often two or three. I rarely meet a soul. It’s just me, the ground beneath my feet, the sights I observe, the landscape, the cloudscape, the satisfying rhythm of my feet as I pound my chosen path for the day. Every day I choose a slightly different route. Every day things change a little. Buds, once tightly furled are now tender young leaves: new flowers burst into bloom; lambs grow stockier, more playful. I have time to notice these things.
I value these hours. Like everyone else, I want this horrible crisis under control. I want to meet my family and friends again. But when that time comes, I want to continue savouring quiet moments like the ones I’ve enjoyed so much over the last few weeks.
For me, these are early April’s Top Flowers, and my walks have given me the chance to enjoy them. What have I left out? Wild garlic isn’t flowering yet round here, nor the hedgerow plants.