Sunday morning, the sun is shining and there’s a bite in the air. Walking down the hill I am struck by the sudden idea of popping into church for mass. It’s not something I’ve done for years but the thought is there accompanied by a vivid image of my local church. Built in 1834 it is a dark, squarish building strangely at odds with the Victorian buildings and redbrick terraces around it. Of course it only takes a moment to realise that this is not possible. If there is any service at all it will be only for a few socially distanced parishioners and they will probably have booked their places in advance.
So Sunday is no longer a day of worship. It’s no different from the rest of the week, but what makes today even stranger that unlike every other weekend since the easing of lockdown, there is no one around, not even a dog walker. The one man I do meet moves off the pavement to give me room, just as we all did for each other way back in March.
As in the spring, there’s hardly any traffic. The sky is a bright blue, the birds sing loudly and if it was not for the fallen leaves I could be back in those early days when were told that a three week lockdown would be enough to deal with the virus and life would soon be back to normal.
Except it never will be the same as it was and this distortion of time is one of the features of things as they are at present. Not only is it hard, if you’re not going out to work, to remember what day of the week it is, but even the seasons are all over the place. First there was our gloriously sun filled spring, when we could sit out in the front garden and drink wine with our next door neighbour safely distanced across the lavender hedge that separates our drives. Then came cold winds and driving rain. Plants stopped growing and misery set it, but just as we appeared to be sliding into unremitting winter, we had a burst of heat and a mellow Indian summer and now….who knows.
Keeping a grip on when we are is like grasping water. Looking back is disconcerting, looking forward is impossible. Who knows what will happen next week. Will we be locked in? Let out? Encouraged to party, or forbidden to see our nearest and dearest?
My other watch needs a new battery. The clock in my office is slowing down. I think I’ll just try to concentrate on what I’m doing right now and let time look after itself.