How was my lockdown? Since you ask, I've had too much time to explore every orifice, mostly metaphorically speaking. It doesn't help that something compels me to keep a journal, the constant writing of which rarely amounts to anything other than something that may later make me chuckle. Or not.
One day in August. I'd finished one journal and the process of getting out of bed and walking to another room to get a new notebook made me lose my train of thought. What was I writing? I wrote. For some reason, I decided to answer in my nascent German. Ja - yes - heute habe ich Deutschklasse - today I have German class. Unutterably boring, but it took slightly longer to compose in German. Had to think about whether the adjective 'deutsche' needed to stand alone with a lower case 'd' or if it was part of a compound noun thus requiring capitalisation. Jeeze. See what I mean?
So the pandemic. Suppose it helped that last year we'd been through something so much worse on a personal level. Who could have imagined that, in his awful dying, our daughter's young partner had been somehow gifting us the strength to proceed relatively unscathed through the forthcoming global crisis?
And really, all my co-morbidity, Diabetica, and I have had to do during the pandemic is avoid actual as opposed to virtual human contact. My personal shopper and husband, Al and I have everything we need. Just had to keep fit, for so long only within a five kilometre radius.
Which led me on my bike to Fawkner Cemetery. Found it simply by heading north rather than south on the Upfield Bike Trail, thus avoiding congested paths. Apart from the deceased, none of whom I encountered on that visit, I spotted perhaps 20 other souls minding their own business in all that peaceful landscaped treed acreage. I pedalled around, stopped to read a few headstones and plaques; relished the mature ghost gums - my favourite trees. Also had a bit of a cry. Seemed like an appropriate place to allow it.
Took Al with me on my second ride to the surprisingly lovely cemetery. I inhaled it all, through my mandatory mask. Thought I wouldn't mind my ashes under a towering ghost gum by the creek, sneaked in by someone with a trowel on a bike ride . Who'd know?
I parked my bike by the curb in the Italian section and worked my way along, giving Al a bit of a commentary. I have a compulsion to share my inner monologue with him telling myself he enjoys it. I dawdled along, companionably pondering the lives of the people in the photos who'd had all their dreams by 1967 or whatever year they'd died. At the last grave, I turned to Al. He wasn't there, having quietly pedalled off. Made my hair stand on end for an instant, wondering whose presence I'd so clearly felt by my side as I practised my Italian pronunciation all along those headstones.
Bit disappointed not to have a ghostly visitation on my third solo cemetery cycle, given how many potential spirits surrounded me. What I did get was a comforting sense of inevitability. So much life lived in its fullness, whatever that might have been. A tiny oblong slab marked the brief life of a two day old infant; so much hope and sorrow a hundred years ago.
Whatever business those thousands of people had been in the middle of, whatever plans they'd had, whatever they still wanted to do, all those who'd lived and died, they'd had whatever life they'd had, for what it was worth. That was all.
You tend to think about your own mortality when you spend time in cemeteries. let alone during a pandemic. Contemplating it all and dreading death just isn't worth it. No one is getting out of the world alive.
But somehow, all those dead people, and all those who'd loved them, got through it. I find that reassuring.