I walk lots. Every day.  It differentiates my home time from my work time at either end of the day when the physical space won’t allow.  It’s a temporal marker, since time is otherwise a little wierded out for all of us.

Each walk I travel the same path. It’s the routine that soothes the Virgo in me. But though the walk is the same, the scenery is not.  Each few days I see shops previously occupied, now packed up.   Some are up for lease.  Others are “open” and scream ‘takeaway’ because they are pivoting to survive (not yet thrive) and that brings me some comfort.

This morning, I walked and the scenery had changed again. In a strip of shops along High Street Northcote, one after the other had a bear in the window. I read it’s to help children go on a bear hunt.   It made me smile; and reminded me of the power of community, and of neighbourhood.

Community doesn’t have to be geographically located and COVVID19 is the best of the times and the worst of the times to discover and explore that.

When I’m all zoomed and skyped out I step outside the front door and in the little strip I call home with the owners of the shops that are open and the regular faces, I have passing coffee chats, wine buying chats, waving chats, zoom pilates chats, texts and phone calls.

As a voracious reader, I just gave my discarded books to the newsagent for them to sell for themselves.  I’m supporting a client allowed to be open under the regulations who is supporting other businesses to stay head above water.

Another we’re bartering for services provided; it involves new clothes, helps them to keep going and I am happy.   In lieu of being able to physically front up, I signed on for online pilates and learned they’re offering alternative payment options for those who couldn’t afford it but wanted to keep on moving in the covid19 world.

Maybe none of these things are of note or worth writing about. What they do is underline the community that I value. Because they’re actually supporting me.  I havn’t told them, any of them, what the neighbourhood means to me, and what their efforts to be part of it and own it, do for everyone else.

I will though.



Note: I wrote a part two to part one because I was embarrassed at the emotion of it. Part two is supposed to have a little hope.  It probably simply highlights the ups and downs of what we’re going through.  For some, things are changing rapidly. For others, not so much.  Vulnerability is part of that, and part of surviving, but it’s an uncomfortable place to be, isn’t it?


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