Browned off.

So, this is the second Covid spring.

In the first it seemed impossibly beautiful and the skies were peerlessly blue to frame such cherry blossom as I have never seen before. The contrast between the beauty of the mild spring and the awful news of deaths and disease swirling around us seemed absurd.

Covid ebbed and flowed. By the time the cherry blossom was ripening into fat luscious cherries, it seemed maybe there would be summer holidays and life would continue, but after the reprieve of summer the winter was long and cold and Covid spiked again and again, although we were all told it was going to be fine and over by Christmas . Vaccination was going to save us all and the next year would be fine and this would all be bad memory.

But then came the new variants and people kept dying. The vaccines have trickled out so slowly and the shops and restaurants and cinemas and clubs have closed and it seems like they may never re – open again.

It is our second spring in lockdown in France. It seems like no one has been vaccinated and in Switzerland it is even worse. They even closed down the vaccination centres during Easter so as not to annoy people with appointments.

It is all unprecedented.

It is no one’s fault.

Complaining when one is healthy and not exhausted from caring for the sick seems petulant and selfish, but like the cherry blossom frozen by the late snow, I too am browned off/fed up.

There won’t be many cherries this summer. The record low temperatures have done for the vineyards in much of France this year, so there won’t even be much wine.

I never thought there could be two Covid springs.


15 thoughts on “Browned off.

  1. dulcedelgado says:

    I believe that nobody thought about this possibility, either due to ignorance or because of an optimism that normally inhabits us in unknown situations.
    I believe that we all thought that, in such a “advanced” and technological world, there would be quick and efficient solutions.
    But this time the world was mistaken… and was dodged by a tiny and invisible virus that stopped it and suspended our lives.
    Despite the tiredness, we must thank for having arrived this second spring healthy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • cathysrealcountrygardencom says:

      It has been very sobering to see how the virus has shown us all how vulnerable we are
      and how money and technology and “ magic thinking “does not protect us from realities of nature. I think it has made us all grow up . Thank you for your thoughts. Stay well.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. thegardenbubbleblog says:

    I love your choice of words, the petals of hope browning off in the frost. We were unlucky in the Bubble Garden in that we never had much hope. We once briefly worked on infections in wildlife with had potential to spill over into humans – and one of our PhD students happened to be visiting family in China as Covid was born. So we started checking in with people we knew in research – in early January last year. What are you thinking we asked them, are you also fearing ‘the big one’? ‘That’ pandemic – the one spread from wildlife into humans – the pandemic we’d all been seeing on the horizon, like you see the next eruption of Vesuvius. And the people we talked to felt the same. ‘Yeah, we might be fucked this time’, they said of covid, ‘and the world hasn’t realized yet’. For a while there was a lot of fear amongst people who studied pandemics. It didn’t abate until it was clear that mortality was much much lower than SARS. And then the conversation quickly morphed – from ‘this will cause world panic’ to ‘the vaccines will take a minumim of two years to create – and then there will be two additional years until we’re efficient at distributing them.’ Three to four years at least, our friends were telling us, until enough people globally are vaccinated so that flare-ups of the virus will be rare. So we just hunched down, with no hope of quick fixes. And pretty soon we started thinking it might be a good thing the world didn’t realize. It is a healthier existence to have petals of hope with brown edges than to have none. Fear is a killer equal to covid. And the research community was not exactly right – it’s been wonderful to realize that. So we’re not thinking 3 or 4 years any longer. We’re thinking 2 or 3. And that year cut off is one of the greatest scientific achievements ever. We have hope now – our petals not frozen off. Hope of seeing the Jura-mountains every summer again. And in the meantime we’re seeing spring arrive all over the continent in people’s garden blogs. A spring we all share despite border closures, brown at the edges yes, but still precious. The barn swallows are now flying over your garden on their way north. Soon, very soon, they’ll be in my garden and I’ll look at them and wonder what French, Spanish, Belgian and German gardens they flew over on their way to their nest on my veranda.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cathysrealcountrygardencom says:

      This is insightful and very like what my ecologist husband has been telling me but I have been trying not to hear. I am prone to magic thinking with the rest and I think it partly self protection as you so rightly say fear is more dangerous than the virus.
      It snowed heavily again this morning, but the snow has melted it all again and it smells of spring again.
      Enjoy watching the swallows!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thistles and Kiwis says:

    We have been so lucky in New Zealand. The borders were shut early on, with managed quarantine facilities which really protected the country, We’ve been going to the cinema, restaurants for months, though we have had other mini lockdowns. But we won’t get our vaccine until July.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cathysrealcountrygardencom says:

      New Zealand has dealt with it very well and the geography definitely helps . Living in the middle of Europe and working across borders has kept the virus circulating fiercely and it will be a long time before it is over . I am looking forward to restaurants when they open again.
      Stay well !


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