Here we are again – lockdown in the UK. At a time like this many people, young and old, will be grateful that their house or flat has windows for them to see the world outside. For some, it may be that it’s the street below, the sky, or the houses or flats opposite. Should one live in the country or by the sea, that would be a scene more pleasing to the eye. Anything would be better than living in, and gazing at, the same four walls all day, and possibly all night, long. I’m very fortunate to live in a small bungalow with a front and back garden with a small green separating us from the fence of the neighbouring bungalow. However, no matter which window I look out of, I will not see people. Occasionally there will be a delivery man, the postman or a visitor to the neighbours living in the cul-de-sac.
I’ve come to appreciate that just glancing out of the window is not as rewarding as spending time looking out would be. It was good to see the earliest sign of spring underneath one of the dogwoods. A clump of bright yellow aconite bulbs had appeared overnight. They are waiting for that warm sunny day to open up into an array of bright yellow flowers. This little group will be the first of many along the front hedge. Soon the cold, cold frosty days of winter will pass, and our colourful spring will take their place – nature giving us a first sign of something to look forward to. Whereas people living in the cities and towns will look forward to seeing the streets become busy again with people and traffic. Their day is probably broken up by seeing the local people taking their exercise or going on the necessary shopping excursions.
My window gazing has taught me how the garden birds have their routines – feeding times, bath time, flight paths, wake-up calls and goodnight chats. I’ve been privileged to see the bluetits and a black cap feeding amongst the bushes. The sparrows and dunnocks feed amongst the leaves around the shrubs, one wren finds his food when all the others have finished their foraging, and the blackbirds and starlings pull the worms up. All these birds also feed off the numerous feeders set up in neighbouring gardens. The thrush comes for a daily bath and the pigeons stand on the iced bird bowls patiently waiting for someone to relieve their misery by defrosting them. Let us not forget the robin who creates the impression of owning the garden as his estate. It is so rewarding to see how life goes on around us, in spite of the crisis that has engulfed us.
I have enjoyed the bird life in my garden whereas for someone else living in a different environment they would be encouraged by a different activity and routines which show them that life is still going on out of their confined space. We are challenged, as in the first lockdown, to find our way of communicating with the outside world, for example a knock on the window to catch the attention of someone walking by, the postman or delivery man, and invent a silent communication of mouthing words or using hand signals. Should we be able to go out, take the challenge to become an observer and communicate, not only to fellow walkers, but to someone who might be standing by a window, using our hands and facial expressions to convey a communication. We can make our motto and challenge ‘let us not give in to solitude and loneliness’.