Love in the Time of Corona #2 | Tuesday, 24th March 2020

Being an early bird, it wasn’t that strange I was equipped before 6 a.m. for a walk, camera and tripod in my hands, standing on the back yard path, while my Love laced his sneakers in the frosty morning air for a run. The sunrise scheduled at 5.55, I only had about ten minutes to find a nice spot at the end of the village, in the fields. Luckily, I live in the countryside and only have to walk a minute to be in the open space with gently sloping multiple mile views.

Heading towards a looming sunrise, I asked myself if an outing indeed will be the most exciting daily venture, following the new restrictions outlined by the British prime minister Boris Johnson, yesterday evening, addressing the nation from 10 Downing Street, as he put the UK in lockdown. We are fond of the outdoors and appreciate long hikes in open hilly spaces. A blustery wind, a mild hailstorm, a bright sun, and settling darkness actually can’t stop us. But Boris’ dictate can. So for the next three weeks – to start – we just follow the rule of “one form of exercise a day – for example, a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of the household” as part of the lockdown rules, during this national emergency.

While the sun started growing at the horizon, starting as a tiny purple dark red like spot, I wondered why I was having an indefinable strange feeling. Something bothered me. Something related to the lockdown. Something purely psychological. I don’t have the desire to go far away from home every day and I know I will survive to be space-limited, even for longer than three weeks. I can walk in different directions knowing not to meet a living soul in an hour time: space and possibilities abound.

If I still would live in a (big) city right now, something I did for about 15 years, in different stages of my life, I think I would go crazy in these circumstances, and not being able to take the public transport or the car to go out to a quiet enough place with an open view. What bothers me now is the fact that my feeling of freedom seems to be restricted. I feel uncanny because I am restricted to do something that I do not want or need.

And yes, I was still on time for the sunrise. The outcome is the picture heading this article. With nearly frozen hands I ended my walk picking up the newspaper at the village shop, and buying also a 2-pint milk bottle. When preparing the breakfast, quite a ritual, my Love came back with a bright smile on his face. He set a new record for his run. Now the day could begin.