Today’s BBC live news feed claims that over half of humanity is now living under some form of restricted movement.
I wonder about every one of those 4.5 billion experiences of the pandemic and how very different they must be.
I only have a handful for reference. Those of friends and family in various pockets of the world and those that make the headlines for very worrying reasons. One Australian friend is on the front line in the search for a vaccine to stop this thing, another in Switzerland has been rudely separated from her partner by the closing of the border with France weeks ago. My most regular update comes from my dad in a Welsh village, who at 71, is taking isolation on the chin (as he does with everything else).
In my own version of the global lockdown, I’m fortunate enough to still have work. Far from being bored, I’m finding plenty to keep me busy otherwise. I read, write, think about future travel plans and reminisce on past adventures. And when all this either makes me feel morose or stir crazy, I feed my unhealthy obsession with murder mysteries on Netflix.
That said, without a commute in my life there’s more time to appreciate the bookends of each day. Dawns, dusks and night skies from the balcony. Just watching life, or often the lack of it. This personal eyrie will be a lasting memory of my lockdown experience.
For obvious reasons, London’s skies are much clearer than normal and I saw Orion’s Belt for the first time over the city last week. What a treat when I could get out my camera to shoot the Pink Super Moon, the closest it would be to earth for the rest of 2020, from the comfort of home. Although the moon didn’t hold my attention for long.
I started shooting the still automatic doors of the local shopping centre, the front yard of the closed local school with its welcoming porch light still on, and the South Eastern trains that rattled past almost completely empty. The two people I saw over the space of a whole hour looked lonely and trapped in their own thoughts: A dog walker caught in a streetlight and a single commuter checking his phone.
A world that appears normal with a passing glance. A world that’s far from it when you pause for a moment. Trains that run to timetables but have only empty seats; children’s climbing frames that are lit but taped off to play; entrances to buildings where not a sole comes and goes; lights that are on but no one’s home.
This is my nightly view of lockdown in one of the world’s busiest cities during the Covid-19 pandemic. What’s yours?