connections

“We’re going on a bear hunt.
We’re going to catch a big one.
What a beautiful day!
We’re not scared
” – Michael Rosen

A simple kids’ book, with a simple story…..

I live in a very small country, at the bottom of the world; our nearest neighbours are about 3 hours away by plane; and to get just about anywhere else in the world means dedicating at least a day to planes and hanging around more than 1 airport…

We’re used to natural disasters here. We live in an earthquake zone  – “The Shaky Isles”, and being a collection of Islands, we tend to get storms that bring flooding at least once a year. And we have coping with that down pat. Most of us have some sort of emergency supplies on hand. And for some of us, keeping the phone charged, not letting the car run out of gas, having a list of people we get in touch with on our phones – has become almost second nature. When shit happens,  we rally around, we sandbag, we rescue stranded people, we start yet another “Big clean up”; And we check in on friends, whanau and neighbours.

Rinse and Repeat.

And the rest of the world sends help, if its needed, and tells us we’re doing well..

And we do..

But now, we’re “In It” with the rest of the world. For the first time for my generation, and the ones that come after me, we are in a global emergency. And as is usual in these times, we have seen the very best of people. As billions of us are in Lockdown, living within our “bubbles” we are relying on the kindness of strangers for the very survival of our most vulnerable… We are valuing the skills of people from Nurses and Doctors to delivery people, shelf stackers and garbage collectors. You will have all seen memes about who we value now, as opposed to a couple of weeks ago. Of course, some people already valued the contribution of these people, but now, rightly so, we stand and applaud….

But boy are we finding Lockdown hard! We are social creatures, used to our freedom – freedom of movement; freedom of choice; freedom of association… We live in an era, when we are not used to being told what to do.. Theoretically we know we have to. But it does grate. And we are used to our own space; time to just be alone, with our thoughts. And now, we have to share that space with people we, are possibly not used to spending this much time with. We may love them dearly, but damn! Do they have some annoying habits and they’re just There! In the way, under our feet, being noisy, possibly smelly, whining… and nicking the last of the chocolate! But, we do still love them…. Lol

A Global Pandemic! Scary words, scary times..

But I’ve discovered this really cool thing. We ARE social creatures. And smile by smile, text by text, meme by meme, video chat by video chat; we’re staying in touch. We’re connecting and in some case reconnecting with friends, whanau and strangers. Either in our safe zone of 2 meters – smiling and nodding at strangers we pass on our daily walks; or over the internet, reaching out. We’re sharing statistics and news stories. Some people connect with humour, some connect with music. Some  with recipes. There are shared picture challenges; Movie recommendations; Live streaming by musicians; daily readings of sonnets, poems, kiddie’s bedtime stories. In a time when most of us feel wholly inadequate, powerless and with no control – we’re reaching out. Virtually touching that next person to ask if they’re ok and reassuring them… Checking on neighbours and friends; picking up essential supplies for those in isolation; sending cards to new friends;  knitting for babies yet to be born. Finding ways to share this weird common ground we find ourselves in…

All this epitomised by 1 very cool idea. I would love to know who to credit it to, but its probably been lost in the ether that is the internet.

“We’re all going on a Bear Hunt”… a simple kids’ book. But an adventure! And in this time when adults are scared, and kids must be bewildered, a notion was had, to recreate this mythical hunt. And so, teddies were placed in house windows, so kids on their daily walk could “Go on an adventure”… and this simple concept took off! And as I take my daily walk, down here, at the bottom of the world, on a now very familiar route. I see teddies… Everywhere…. And I smile… Everyday.. And I know that around the world there are teddies staring out of windows and cars and lampposts, all there to let the small people know that we care.

I don’t know what the world will look like after this. I know it will have changed. As an optimist I’m hoping it will be kinder. That people will still value the people that kept us going. And that maybe we continue to value the simple things in life that I think we may have all taken for granted in our more “Freer times”..

And so, in Michael Rosen’s, now famous words..

We can’t go over it.
We can’t go under it.
Oh no!
We’ve got to go through it!

Take care, stay safe, look out for each other… xx

(And thank you to friends and whanau who shared photos of their teddies and teddies they have encountered in their daily walks.. you guys rock!)

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