Life in Uncertain Times

I’ve been thinking on and off about this blog since my last post. As it my usual wont I’ve left things hanging. I’ve spent most of my spare time since January doing a wide variety of DIY tasks about my house, from the menial, to the (for one person alone) monumental.

At the same time physical exhaustion isn’t the only reason I haven’t posted here. I have a post languishing in my drafts about the simple pleasure in physical labour and creation, but stress from work and life have led to emotional health and motivation for writing ebbing to a seasonal low.

Should I mention this is all before the events which has indelibly changed the world we live in? Covid-19.

I keep seeing suggestions to keep a diary life during this time. To make a record of our everyday happenings and how we perceive the hear and now of an event which will be high-school textbooks for likely quite a few generations. How though should one write about events which you yourself cannot yet come to grips with?

This morning as I was dissociating in the shower I though about what one can write about the conditions we find ourselves in. An extraordinary number of mental processes present themselves to me at once:

Should I write of the now? Of feeling, and longing? I hear the relentless winds of Strand straining through the leaves outside. I wonder, what are my fondest memories of the place I have made my home.

I think of the long beach at low-tide as the sun slowly sets. The shoreline is a dark mirror, reflecting the pink tinged mountains and growing lights of Beach road as darkness encroaches. The wind whips away all noise and it feels otherwordly and detached this far down the beach, staring back at the mountains which have remained unchanged for much of our species existence.

I think of wintry mornings. The mountains ensconced in clouds, impossibly close and huge. The sun grazes over the distant peaks, transmuting soft clouds into harsh glow. Sun rays gaze lazily into the valleys below. Fleeting moments in my brief morning commute.

How can one write of the future when the past is alluringly dreamlike, and the present is an indulgence of introspection. I’ve run out of things to build. The hardware store is closed. Books, television, movies, games, endless entertainment available within the walls of my house. Yet I yearn for those moments where I can forget the world and myself. Those brief moments on the beach, the glimpses of the mountains in the morning.

I think of climbing on my roof, gazing at the distant mountains. I think of the lonely empty Karoo. That rugged empty landscape that seems to go on forever. A space at once too big to fill, but ignites the imagination. In my mind I think of that landscape, where I can let my thoughts flow out and gaze upon them.

Introspection can be dangerous without moderation. It is a failing I reliably fall into.

Yet, is it fair to think and feel this way. It could be worse. By any metric of comfort I, and those I care for, are in the top 1% of South Africans. We are comfortably insulated from not just what is happening now but also the inequities which the majority of people in the world labour under. I am secure in my job. Our family income is unbroken for now. My problems seem decidedly first world in comparison to what others have to face.

But that I suppose is part of what makes us human. We all have a little bit of selfishness like that. The problems affecting directly are realer and more important those most of those others face. While assurance in perspective is nice, can we survive living the setbacks the most unfortunate face every day? Can we carry on if we truly tried to understand that for every moment?

I can only relive my stream of consciousness for so long before I fall back into it. Not the best content for easy or comprehensible reading. Of course, shortly after my shower I proceeded to read an exceedingly tragic book. Just the thing for my brooding mood.

I would like to say more about it, but honestly, this post is emotionally draining as is, and I haven’t even directly talked about Covid-19. Like many other things, it will have to wait for, maybe, another post.

Keep safe everyone.