From a mountain lockdownOn Thu, 26 March, 2020 - 14:17
So, here we are two weeks into the lockdown in Spain, four women who have only been living together roughly the same length of time, getting to know each other and luckily finding we laugh a lot…over Spanish practice, which recently involved learning a song which we recorded and sent back to our teacher (or nuestro maestro!)…europop still rules it seems…and also over a number of amusing video clips sent by friends around the coronavirus (sometimes humour is needed to cope with something so devastating for so many. If you’ve seen “Option B” you’ll know what I mean!). We have different rhythms and different likes and dislikes, but seem to be happily accommodating each other.
We’re aware we are blessed to be somewhere so spacious and beautiful during this time and we can go for long walks locally without seeing a soul. Pictures in the news of empty streets in the world’s cities are a striking reminder of how the lives of others have been so radically changed, but up here, 7km from our nearest neighbours in the village we look out on a scene that doesn’t appear to have changed much…rustling oaks and pines, the occasional passing lizard or ibex, the solidity of Peñarroya rock up above, the thick brilliance of the cloudy sky. All seems more-or-less the same, but of course it’s always in constant flux, even if in a much less explicit way than streets and parks being emptied of crowds.
For us there are a few obvious changes though. Most prominent has been the cancellation of the three month ordination retreat, which has been quite an adjustment as it’s probably our central focus all year. Suddenly, instead of cleaning the retreat centre from top to bottom and buying in all the necessities, we’re faced with an open three months together, with work to continue to do, but of a different nature. Amritamati was going to be on the team for the retreat, so she’s recalibrating to life in the community until she returns to the UK in August (although, like everything, that is quite provisional now), but she’s seeing the plus side too…not having to share a room for three months for instance, or stressing over the special diets! Mostly we’re thinking of the women who were due to come and what a change of momentum this is for them. But it’s a good reminder that life is indeed king.
Another change is that only one of us can go into town to shop at any one time, otherwise we risk a €1000 fine, so we’re missing the sociability of having a coffee with friends before our Spanish class or exploring new places together, but these are small things in the face of what the world is experiencing. Unfortunately the village seems to have a name and shame policy for anyone venturing outside for no apparent good reason, so again we benefit from our isolation. Step outside unnecessarily and your name and ‘crime’ is texted to everyone!
For now, despite the horrendous death toll in Spain, we’re all healthy and expect to continue to be so considering how little contact we have with anyone other than ourselves. We hope the same can be said for you all.