lockdown

I sat for a while in the Yarra River at Warrandyte last week. A woman and her small daughter waded in the shallows. A middle-aged couple huddled side by side on the shore a little way down, naked, soft and tanned.

I watched the water surging along, the infinite flow of dazzling reflections. I thought about the difference between looking at an object and experiencing an unfolding phenomenon, between thinking a thought and appreciating an idea, between saying I love you, and loving. Between what can be captured, and what cannot.

I thought about myself, my own pain. The unending loops my mind has been trained to chase. About the kind of isolation that serves no purpose.

I thought about this virus. I thought about those first few molecules that seeped into the human community. Invisible, organic, tiny.

I thought, if this is what a molecule can do, driven only by the raw instinct of natural laws, imagine the possibilities for a molecule made of love, ministered with intention.

I thought about the necessary solution to coronavirus. Prevent the spread by limiting the movement and interaction of potential hosts, which is everyone. Regular and thorough sanitising. Public education. Social shaming. Policing.

Lockdown: Isolate. Indoctrinate. Shame. Threaten. Arrest.

I thought about the viral entanglement that we call reality. I thought, if even the healthiest person could be invisibly infected with coronavirus, perhaps even the lowliest might be an unwitting carrier of that molecule of love. What if we’re all swimming in it, only most have never been allowed a test?

I thought, if there were ever a time to rail against lockdown, it’s now. The worst effect of coronavirus won’t be its tragic and indiscriminate death toll. It will be the vector that the virus itself provides to viruses long established.

All the while, I ran my hands across the slippery bedrock at my feet. I poked methodically at its crevices, liberating accumulations of silt to drift silently downstream. Perhaps something new would find a home here soon.

And I remembered the mountains of the Sacred Valley, their deep-cut wounds blooming like flowers for eternity.