In the spring of 2020, in the height of global lockdown we were granted a glorious season of blossom in Britain. My daughter and I would spend the mornings after breakfast on a walk, scrambling through the brambles and bushes of our local woods. We stopped at trees to feed the woodland fairies and catch wiggly things before pulling off the meters of ivy entangled over bark. “Naughty Ivy!” she'd shout, as I looked up to witness whole trunks strangled in its grasp. A source of food and protection for smaller species ivy is often associated with vigour, immortality and fidelity. It’s attachment and grip on life would reflect that.
However, it would also appear that ivy climbs without care for its captive. It writhes around in snakelike fashion, slow and steady until every original inch of its casualty is covered. In one glance it coats and protects and, in another glance it asphyxiates. It appears that ivy creeps around insidiously.
Not loud, brash and clumsy, but perhaps calculated, purposeful and productive. For the thickening coat to cease climbing, ivy needs to be ripped off at the root, halted in the ascent, torn down. Ivy kills a weakened species slowly. It needs a firm determined hand to strangle out any agenda.
In my last post, I can't breathe, I spoke about the lungs of our planet, the resolute trajectory of Covid's path and the despicable end of George Floyd’s life. Months on I feel the same breathless at the thought of another imposed lockdown. I feel anxious, claustrophobic and wheezy at the idea of being stuck inside as winter knocks and the doors of life may once again shut up shop. My mind prepares me for the worst, as I try and think the best. I sit to hear the Prime Minister’s address on Channel 4. Looking decidedly better after his near-death dalliance with the subject in question, he begins by stating:
"The struggle against Covid is the single biggest crisis the world has faced in my lifetime."
Ummm? Right? Ummmm? No... So, where do we go from here? BJ please let me start by saying I want you to succeed, I am law abiding, I am educated, I am currently apolitical. Then can I please point out that this really isn't what history would call the single biggest crisis. Economically it's up there, but shall we now address the real elephant in our collective cells, rather than that naughty rebel pathogen. Only without discrediting the severity of the virus, I sense the real rate of infection lies elsewhere. For deep in those same cells we continue to deflect the biggest crisis(es). In that same petrie dish we absolutely can test and trace gross systemic racism, terrifying climate catastrophe, unfathomable poverty, not to mention deep civil unrest, savage war crimes and an estimated 70.8 million refugees displaced on Mother earth right now. I wonder if there is a vaccine on trial for any of that? No needle or NHS nurse necessary, merely application of mind (the very same that got us here can get us out), body (gut, heart, eyes, ears, heart again) and spirit (ancestral wisdom, DNA, intuition....) May I also suggest that before we rush towards this potential panacea with sweaty delight, the first rule is to be still. Let’s lockdown in national silence and turn inward. You'll hear the winds howl, the bees murmur, the moon hum and the calling of mother earth willing us back home. Let’s ditch the ‘Dummies Guide to Zoom’ and meditate on who we are becoming. You near finished your address with:
" Never in our history has our collective destiny and our collective health depended so completely on our individual behaviour."
Spot on BJ! Only let's please now readdress the real virus crisis in question, let's not slide up and over it like ivy upon trees. Instead let's lay down the night and ask ourselves silently, repetitively, softly.
"We were once an earth honouring people. Will we be again?"