After the memes. After the shouting, the knee-jerk buying, the panic, the refusal to accept.
After the swarming of national parks. After the threats, the beating heart of community, the pleas on deaf ears. After the news, the updates, the endless, endless statistics. After it all.
A slow acceptance of the trembling fear running underneath it all. Manifesting in polarising actions – bringing together of villages, towns, groups. Innovation, connection. And greed, a vain seeking of control, a need to ensure survival of the self, a visceral, unquantifiable claw at normality.
After all the noise. What are we left with?
The unknown. It is here, a threat from science fiction made real, the start of myth, the step into new times. Forget the surface shoutiness of Brexit and politics. Forget the rivalry of left, right. So throwaway now, so manufactured. A species utterly, absolutely convinced of its own strength and invincibility, suddenly floored by a microscopic threat, spreading unseen, silent. A threat we refused to see coming, advice we still refuse to listen to.
After it all, what do we do?
It quietens, as we settle into the new normal, some shouting all the way, others bent low with responsibility and determination. A point is reached where no more bad news can be borne. A resilience that has to bear, a shield saving us from breaking. Normal is now connection, apart. Normal is now slowing and nesting. Normal is now small units of family, friends, community, bound against the unknown.
We are defiant in the face of terror. This species of ours runs strong, quick and cunning, using the advantages of knowledge, adaptability, interaction. We run alongside this virus, hoping one day to overtake it, control it. The knowledge that we will. The bare, raw fear of what could happen should we fail.
Together, apart, we watch. We plant seeds and gently let the new growth of spring lift spirits amongst the rolling news. Days are unbelievable, hazy, tentative. Everything slows. Everyone will slow, eventually. The fight to maintain the normality of just a few months ago must slow too. Together, apart. Together.
We must accept to move forwards. Fighting and fear, distress, disruption. All natural reactions to threat, animal response. Acceptance of all, and then a big step forwards. As humanity, as one, hands on each others shoulders. From a distance, as one.