This morning is stormy - here's the view from my office window. Rain, wind, wild seas and a neighbourhood shut in not only by the weather but by another two weeks of Level 4 lockdown in Auckland. Not much sleep was had last night as lightning flashed, thunder rocked and rolled and the rain barreled down on the old tin roof.
We were warned about this level continuation by our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, a few days ago and it was confirmed yesterday. Even so, having a heads-up beforehand didn't really do much to lessen the feelings of .. what?
I have a number of those feelings this morning as I look out the window, feeling very much isolated not only by the storm, up here in my working space, but also by the knowledge that at 11.59pm tonight, our city will be cut off from the south with police at the southern boundary, and it is likely that on Thursday this week, at 11.59pm, we will be cut off from the north, another border patrol in place to prevent people coming and going unless they have specials exemptions for work or to provide essential services.
We shall be soldiering on alone.
I have to say though, that our Prime Minister delivered this news in a way that was both firm and yet empathetic. She said Auckland had been doing much of the 'heavy lifting' for the whole country, which is true, as we are the port of entry into the country and as such, the city is always on high alert, and now Aucklanders are having to bear up so the rest of the country can begin to resume normal activities, albeit with heavy restrictions still in place.
Facing another two weeks of isolation is daunting, it feels emotional this morning in a way it didn't yesterday. That prospect, plus this wild weather, looking out my window and seeing no one, apart from a few signs of life (a bunch of sodden washing on a clothes line across the street, a rubbish bin blown into the empty street by the gale) I feel as if I could be the only person here.
I was brightened just a moment ago, receiving an email from our blues band leader, with a song he'd like us to listen to and learn whilst in this home-alone period, a good old Bo Diddley rocker, one that will be great for when we can be together again. 'The COOLEST groove' he said, 'especially for bass (him) and drums (me).'
And that's pretty good advice too, for right now. Stay cool and stay groovy.
It'll see us through.
The COVID Delta variant has arrived in New Zealand with a hiss and a roar, or would it be better to say, like in insidious interloper, now well accustomed to finding its way into populations all over the world with its well-honed and crafty viral skills.
Once again New Zealand is in the highest level lockdown and we are watching the world go by from the windows of our homes. Not that my home and view looks anything like this from master Henri Matisse but the gorgeous colours gave me some cheer this morning and I hope they do the same for you.
I was listening to some news this morning and the District Mayor of Westland, a true-blue West Coast man, put it best.
He was saying this Delta variant is dangerous, we need to take heed and abide by the current Level Four restrictions in place for the whole of New Zealand.
"This has the potential to really bite us in the bum," he said, to which the reporter replied, "And we don't want that."
We surely do not.
We've heard so much political-speak this week, lengthy orations about the virus and this new mutation, and that is fine and we need the information but in terms of understanding what could happen if we don't play ball and stay at home, the Mayor's words say it all in a way that we can all really take to heart.
So we find ourselves in this lockdown place again and most seem to be handling it OK, despite the ever-increasing list of locations of interest which seems to be creeping further south and north every day. So far, on our little peninsula here, we are OK but who knows who amongst has may have visited the dumpling place down town, or the Sky City Casino, or the BP station in Waiouru, and then come home with an unwanted passenger.
It can really get to you, if you let this train of thought leave the station, gaining momentum as it travels down the tracks until you're so anxious and beside yourself, you begin to wonder if its actually safe to walk on the beach, even with a gale blowing (as it has been the last few days). Is 'it' traveling on the wind? Is that person I just passed someone who was at the Glenfield McDonald's this week at the time an infectious person was?
As my mother would say, 'Balderdash! Get out there and have a walk!' OK.
I am walking, I have been to the grocery store (well done Silverdale Pak n Save for managing shoppers in such an efficient and caring way), and I have spoken with neighbours, albeit from a distance.
Even though this virus wants to bite us in the bum, we can't resign our bums and just give in. Of course, abide by the rules, but keep your pecker up (i.e. chin) and carry on as we navigate our way through this challenging time.
And don't forget to write about it. This is an historical time and your thoughts about living through a pandemic will not only be fascinating reading for future generations, but getting it down on paper or your computer is good therapy.