Day 9 Lockdown in France

It is late March and spring is definitely here in the Mediterranean belt. The trees are all poised to explode into different shades of green, the warblers are busy flitting about the sky and the small black lizards are out of their hiding, darting across the wooden stakes in the vegetable beds. The first rose, Edith Piaf, has bloomed way too early, and true to its name, its vibrancy and dark burgundy colour, along with a heady spicy perfume, makes it irresistible. So, I snip it off to arrange it alongside the tulips and camellia. The cool mornings are filled with a kind of heartache, knowing that transitions happen just too quickly, too fast. The mountain sides that are now awash in little green were almost barren some weeks ago. And within that time, the world shifted, the sun burned stronger, the air became warmer and everything changed. Some transitions are huge, some imperceptible, but they are there, nevertheless. All moving, changing, shifting, transforming. 

My neighbour who has been repairing his boundary wall is out since morning, mixing concrete and slapping it into the crevices and cracks. His two young sons play football in their small courtyard. The curly haired one is definitely better than the brother, but they continue, each accepting the other and constantly improvising. When the little one scores, he does a little jiggly dance from one end of the yard to the other. On the other side of their wall, another neighbour is out with her basket of laundry and is hanging up the wash on a clothesline stretched between their house and the wall. White sheets sway in the morning breeze. Isn’t is incredible how these small things can stir up memory? As I watch the sheets, I remember another place where all the senses were magnified, it was louder, hotter, most certainly, dustier.  In that place and time, my mother hung up her wash on the clothesline out in the sun on our balcony, as did everyone else those days. And we ran between them, chasing each other, laughing, our hands impatiently brushing against the still wet clothes while the not properly wrung clothes dripped water. But no one really cared, the sun was just so deliciously hot, it really didn’t matter. And we ran and chased and laughed. Like the neighbour’s son, who is doing his crazy dance, which makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time.

And so, the world shifted, the seasons changed, time passed. Until we find ourselves in a different time, different place and yet, not so different after all. The heartache persists, but only because it still beats to reveal all that is and all that isn’t.

Don’t change for the sake of changing.
If you ask me, I will ask you to change
because you must,
because it is the nature of things.
Change like the sky changes colour,
every single day, every single rainbow colour,
from dawn till dusk, 
And way into the night.
Change like the ocean breathes
Between tides, sometimes low,
and sometimes high,
crashing and pulling back.
Change like the boy who became the man
outgrowing his shorts,
replacing them with suits and ties,
footballs traded for wristwatches.
Change like the seeds become plants,
to blossom into flowers of all colours,
opening up to the sky and bees
before becoming the soil again.

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