Going with the (lateral) flow


Sheffield paper artist Melanie Pearson "Les Fruits de Mel"
I made this painting while I was probably coming down with the virus, though I didn’t know it. I hardly ever make paintings, and if I do, they ten to be more figurative, and I would never normally use these colours together so this is very different. A Covid influenced experiment, perhaps.

Everyone’s getting it.” said my yoga teacher at the weekend, fresh out of isolation after ten days of having Covid, and on Monday I too got the dreaded parallel lines on my lateral flow test. So I’m writing this with a runny nose, headache and sore eyes, still feeling washed out after a couple of days in bed but feeling very lucky to be here.

The weather has been suddenly lovely, sunny and warm, and it felt so good to sit outside on the step with a mug of tea, admiring the daisies coming up in the cracks of the paving stones, thinking about this time two years ago when we also had lovely weather and the world seemed to have paused – not just for me but for everyone.

I look back with nostalgia to that time; it was awful and terrifying in so many ways and yet I loved the uncompromising peace, the quiet walks through empty streets and the drifting pink of cherry blossom petals. I loved the rattle of dice and counters as my son and his girlfriend played endless games of backgammon and Boggle in the sunshine outside the front door, beautiful in beach clothes and the scent of sun lotion. Loved knowing where they were at night, and that we were all safe under one roof.

I loved the news reports of animals strolling through deserted city centres, and the sightings of fish in newly clear waters, and the sound of birdsong as I’d never seemed to notice it before. It was such a hard time for so many, and I knew we had it lucky, and that made me even more thankful for the small daily benisons of home and all the things that I realised made life good.

Today feels a bit like that. A snapshot of March 2022 is very different and the world has not become a nicer, better place, far from it. My eyes hurt and sinuses are stinging; the news reports of war, displacement and poverty are sobering and just keep on coming. But just warming my bare toes on the stone outside with the sun on my face, not well but able to appreciate the slowness, headache and all – despite everything that has passed, and everything that is going on in the world – and maybe because of all that – I feel these things so gratefully and know that it is good to be alive.

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