The lucky irony of our being locked down, locked in, is that we have re-discovered our open spaces.International borders are not open, and they won’t be open for quite a while. The Delta surge - with all its rapid transmissibility- and our low vaccination rates, may just see us slipping in and out of lockdown for the foreseeable future.
And yet, it seems there has never been such activity in our parks and reserves. Community sport and its cancellation aside, there has never been more footfall on our walking tracks, more families clustered around un-netted goal mouths, more households ripping through the streets on bikes. We are to stay within our local boundaries, but there is so much to see and do inside of them. Being ordered home has shown just how much is available to us, right outside our doors.
Our local sporting grounds are dotted with families - parents teaching their kids to kick or throw or pass. Those out for more regimented exercise surround them - jogging, sprinting, using the quiet field-lines to guide their way.
Footballs are struck through posts, siblings cheering and clapping as if they were Buddy, or Teddy, or Sam the Matilda. Basketballs slap against pavements, but not unpleasantly. Some noise is good in a quiet time
Streets and backyards are used as they have not been. Imaginations flare again to life as children make new worlds of the park-across-the-road. Mum watches tenderly from a window.
Those out simply to get some fresh air, to stretch the legs, are greeted overhead by skipping, dipping lorikeets - rainbow fighter-planes across the sky.
Raucous cockatoos practice their gymnastic routines on telegraph poles or street lights. Correllas and galahs feed in large, chattering flocks.
Magpies warble and watch with a steady eye. Crows rumble past with heavy wing-beats. If the black cockatoos emerge from the mountains, their pleasant, plaintive squeals echo over the suburbs. Pelicans and swans are regal where they paddle.
Rivers and creeks run, and we sit by them. We climb the hill, to gaze across our homes.We are separated, and it hurts. But we are learning again what really to be grateful for.
Had we known all this, before our world was changed? It was always there. Perhaps it took us being locked down inside, to understand it was all right there, waiting.
Will we forget it all, when we are allowed again, to leave?
About the Author | B. C. Taylor
B. C. Taylor is a writer, actor, broadcaster and musician, from south-west Sydney. His debut novel, Sally-Ann, was released in June 2020. His debut album, Sweetly So We, followed in June 2021. When he is not inside working away on the computer, he is out across the national parks of Greater Sydney, enjoying some much-loved time with the wildlife.