The Park. A journal entry from Nora in Spain

“Now ending week two of confinement, and edges are certainly fraying in the general population. Still, supportive attitudes and a lot of innovation are the norm, so we just ignore the horror stories, fake or not, who knows.”

And that was as far as that record went. Was there any particular reason?

Not that I can recall, but time and memories do tend to blur a little these days.

So, let’s see where we are now, April 6th, 2020.

It is a Monday, and the weather is cool and cloudy, with the occasional shaft of sunlight that tempts me out onto the terrace. As soon as I get settled, clouds gather again, so I come inside, leaving the doors open into my living room.

Seated on the sofa, I can hear a constant clicking sound, maybe birds feeding on new buds, or snapping off twigs for their nests. Right now I can hear the calls of blackbirds and finches, coal-tits, the rowdy magpies, murmuring pigeons and doves, and this morning, a robin. I’m getting better at recognising birds these days.

Most of the trees have leafed, some are flowering, and a few are already heavy with orange or red fruits. Life goes on, regardless of what is happening in our lives, and the park may even be thriving more than usual.

The birds have certainly laid claim to a place that is usually full of humans. Early in the morning it is busy with children going to school, little ones holding onto a grandparent’s hand, others with mums or dads, and the older ones in groups. Later on, dog walkers and seniors share the benches and paths, enjoying the sun and each other’s company. Throughout the day, waves of people come and go, with very little emptiness until the park closes its gates at 11pm.

All that has changed now. Gone are the voices and the laughter, the music and football games, the arguments and the flirtations. The air is full of birdsong, the sound of the wind and the rain, and the footsteps of a single gardener, sweeping and raking. He works slowly and thoughtfully, although he doesn’t have the extra mess to clear each day. I watch him from the terrace as he stops some times, and looks around for what is missing.

Missing until the evening, when clapping bursts the silence, bounces out of windows and balconies, and embraces the park. And the park spills over with hope.

We all do that these days.

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