We’re a week into self-isolation at home, and with four strong wills pulling in different directions it’s a small miracle no one has been hurt yet. Our house is big enough that under normal circumstances, it’s possible to go into hiding from the rest of the family when the need arises, but these are not normal circumstances.
My private study has been requisitioned by my younger daughter and is now being used as classroom, school library and recreation room. I’ve had to take refuge in the bedroom and on occasion I’ve resorted to drastic measures to find a moment’s peace by feigning constipation and locking myself in the bathroom.
While my husband is busy plotting plans for food acquisition together with neighbours we never knew existed before Corona, I am keeping a cool head when it comes to feeding the family. My biggest worry is that home schooling is going to last until the summer break. It’s only been four days and already the grey hairs on my head are multiplying at an exponential rate. I will have gone completely grey by July if schools don’t open by May.
In the morning of the first day of home schooling there was a buzz of excitement in the house, but by lunchtime it had faded significantly and by the end of the day the predominant mood in the house was one of total exhaustion. For much of day two I felt like I was pulling teeth and by the third day I had all but given up on the fanciful idea that my daughters were actually going to learn something. By now break times had doubled in frequency and length.
I am desperately searching for a silver lining to clutch at during these strange, restrictive times, and the other day my teenage daughter appeared in the kitchen with a big grin,
“The water in the canals of Venice are clean again,” she anncounced. “And fish are coming back.”
“And air pollution is down,” her younger sister added.
Self-isolation may be driving mothers to the brink of madness, but placing millions of humans in isolation is clearly good for nature. Blue skies are back and the air in our neighbourhood feels fresher than it has in a long time.
For too long, mankind behaved badly and nature has finally had enough and sent us to our rooms. Might we actually learn something from this?