Thursday, August 20, 2020

And Lockdown Continues

 Where I live, Morwellia, we are in stage 3 lockdown, but Melbourne, where my mother and daughters live are in stage 4- as we deal with this second wave of Covid 19. This is a really difficult time for people and I am fortunate to be able to stitch, create new workshops, read and watch some tv on my laptop, walk in a small bushland reserve and use messenger and zoom for more face to face conversations.

I see people lamenting their inability to travel and to go overseas, and yes whilst i do look at photos from travels past and I do miss travelling I am trying to  focus on small things, small steps and  grabbing enjoyment from tiny moments. This was the one big lesson I took away from cancer (apart from  giving yourself time to exercise and to eat as best as you can with the freshest food possible in season)- to savour the tiny moments and to marvel at the world immediately around us, and to look for joy in the smallest of things. Cancer is also a great equaliser like this virus is - when I was lying in the Women's Hospital after my op and fearing for the future- my thoughts of self became obliterated as I heard doctors telling young women that they would never bear children- I heard their crying as they were told and I saw their inexorable grief for something that would never be. But with cancer there is no choice- and yet here we are in lockdown and we have the luxury of choice to be the best we can for the communities we live in, to protect those around us as best as we can, and to protect those we love as best we can. All it takes is to be careful, to socially distance, to wash hands, to wear masks and for this brief blip in the landscape of 2020 to stay at home unless we need  necessaries for sustenance. It is not a lot to ask in the big picture of things. I have also found that the hand sanitiser plays havoc with my much more fragile skin since radiotherapy, but  I have a huge clump of aloe vera in my garden, and whilst I have used aloe vera to treat burns and sun burn, I had never thought of using it on bad chafing and cracking of the skin on my hands until a friend suggested I try it last night- and within 24 hours of applying it regularly i can say I can't believe the improvement of my skin and the cracks are no longer weeping. Makes me wonder what it could do for my face lol????

I have returned to noticing the small things- I take a daily walk in a small bushland reserve not far from my house- and pretend it is a forest full of  spirit and wonder.  It used to be a dump for abandoned vehicles and a kind of hoonville hooning  spot. But someone with vision saw that it could be something else- something of benefit to the whole community, and something which would allow the return of native bushland to a small part of Morwellia. They built tracks so people can walk, they cleaned up the rubbish that gets dumped ( even now) and deal with invasive weeds. I  can tell you that it is actually full of ducks and screeching cockatoos, parakeets,currawongs, fairy wrens,  the odd kookaburra, magpies, shrike thrushes, wattle birds, asian minor birds, a pied heron, even a bower bird, native pigeons- and I am not a twitcher! I have also seen a kangaroo. It is small but I am so grateful that it is there to let my mind wander for an hour a day whilst my body benefits from the exercise.

I am also surprised- very pleasantly actually- in a town that has a reputation for bad behaviour and crime- that I have only seen one person without a mask. Even the biker on his motor bike yesterday was wearing a mask, and  everyone is very aware of the social distancing except for a few elderly people. Even the hoons are off the streets at night ( even though we are not under curfew like Melbourne) and are hooning in the day time instead. Small mercies... small things... but you know what, it does tell me that Morwell actually thinks of itself as a community and that we need to look out for each other.

When I was diagnosed with cancer and went through radiotherapy I created a little written reminder in stitch of both the good and bad- small things every single day until treatment finished. I acknowledged my fear and anxiety and gave it a place, but also found myself being more upbeat then I was expecting to be, actually bent on noticing small things, and embracing joy from those interactions- whether it was to hold some healing stones sent by a friend, the look at the fibre/textile hearts and cards  sent, or to simply marvel that i could walk, and daily see the changes nature seemed fit to bestow on me. We cannot control the big thing like a pandemic, but we can be a small step in  trying to make our communities safer. I read somewhere if we make a small list of our anxieties once a day at the same time, we are giving signals to the great unknown of our minds that the anxiety is there but you are only giving it a small portion of your day.

I started the Forest Quilt below before the pandemic started to reign. I was making it to exhibit in Moscow and the Netherlands. But as lockdowns started happening , that of course  did not happen and so the quilt sat half finished for ages. But my morning walks made me pick it up again and finish it and happily I have also sold it, almost immediately i posted the image on instagram (quite a lot of happy dancing here)  The fabric was printed with  bracken and she oak and the fabric was especially dyed to reflect a forest environment. It is  free motion drawn with Aurifil Mako 30 thread- this thread has a wonderful sheen and because the weight of thread is slightly heavier it sits on the surface beautifully. The she oak print looks like spirits dancing to me.


Penny said...

Love that quilt, no wonder it sold fast. Your walks look lovely.

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els said...

Your quilt is wonderful. LOVE it. So happy for you it sold.
Thank you for your words about being grateful and enjoying the small things in life. I feel the same here on our small isolated island. But there are days it is a bit harder. We shall overcome!!! Big hug.

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petronella said...

Thank you for your message, Dijanne, I'm looking forward that there will be a day we'll meet again, in the Netherlands or in France! You're living in a beautiful area, like we. Enjoy! And wish you strength with the lock-down!

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