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Simple pleasures (May 5th) by Gillian



Something in the air felt different.

In essence, nothing had changed. Social distancing, mask wearing, exercising: jogging, cycling, power walking. Parents focussing on their children to keep their distance, stay safe, keep well.

I walked. Through the park, to the Heath, along the main road; my usual route. I felt it then…as I got closer to the town, it seemed that people had lifted their eyes and were looking ahead, as if purposefully.


The atmosphere was no longer one of Covid fear, doom and gloom, despite the threat of the infection being no less than before. The air felt light!

Peoples’ wellbeing seemed to have improved! Collectively! What could be the reason? Was there some news? Have I missed out? I fumble for my phone and find the News app.

The same daunting statistics: Covid deaths in hospitals, care homes and other places. Sit tight. Same slogan, drilled into our minds: ‘Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives’


And yet I felt swept along by this wave of positive energy and found myself walking with purpose too! Mood lifted, spirits higher.

As I entered the small town, I passed by the shuttered chic boutiques and locked down restaurants that were familiar sights these days. But a spring in my step had awakened and couldn’t be contained. It took me onwards and upwards until I saw the most amazing sight:


The ‘Gelato’ had opened!


At first, I thought it a vision; like one might have in the desert, having walked for miles without water. But no, this was for real! The queue was longer than the longest queue I had ever seen, made even longer by social distancing. But people were happy to be there, waiting patiently, orderly, chatting excitedly but quietly, both adults and children alike.


***************


There’s an innocence about ice cream.

I am reminded of a summers day many years ago. I was out with my young children, each dressed in their matching orange shorts and t-shirts, admired by all for their loveliness.

There I was, recovering from psychosis, still walking a tightrope and praying that my broken mind remain stable. I bought each child a ‘mini-milk’ ice cream lolly and we went to public garden nearby. The joy on their faces reached me. I finally felt something, after so so long.


The simplicity of that event, had offered us a sense of normality. So it wasn’t the ice cream solely that gave joy, it was what it had offered.


Like all of those people in the gelato queue today, it made us feel safe in an unsafe world.



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