Hibernation Diaries: Geese, Orca and April’s Evening Diamond

My blog has become something of a journal during these past weeks of lockdown, and thus it continues. It’s difficult, right now I think, to view the world without the spectre of Coronavirus, the effect it has on our daily lives, our families, our collective consciousness, our dreams. For the first time in living memory the whole world, it seems, is living the same experience, facing the same perils, processing the same thoughts, sharing the same nightmares. I dreamt the other night of a little boat being swamped in the waves as I passed the sea, while carrying my infant nephew in my arms. I saw huge, terrified faces looming out of the waves at me, yet however hard I tried, I couldn’t remember how to contact the emergency services. I ran to a nearby café, where no one could tell me how to contact them either, and instead just carried on with drinking their coffees, and their teas. Eventually, I realised a whole hour had passed and all of the people on the little boat would be drowned, carried away by the unforgiving waters. I woke up, panting into the darkness. Since then, I sip chamomile tea before bed and sprinkle lavender oil inside my pillowcase. I leave the window ajar, listening to the birds burst into song in the early morning, their ringing voices a hopeful antidote to fear.

View to Sea, April 2020, Caithness

Despite the dreams, though, fear doesn’t visit me in the daytime. Routine bustles on, homeschool occupies, there is the daily business of three meals and a walk to contend with, sometimes tea and a home made cake in the afternoon. I make bread, enjoying the sensation of kneading and turning dough, and potter about in the garden, feeling the soil between my fingers, and underneath my nails. I wander about barefoot, trying to feel more connected to the natural world around me, this thing that seems to hold such certainty. Where birds keep singing, and geese keep flying over my house, and rainbows keep appearing when I need to see them most. I berate myself for not understanding more about it all, this world I have always felt so keenly connected to. I read things, about geese and birds and rainbows, and want to learn more, just like my children, learning in homeschool at our kitchen table or a desk. I sit with my dyslexic son as he struggles to formulate thoughts into written words – words that sputter out in bits and pieces, like a tap that needs fixing. I find an infinite beauty in his imperfect language, the way he writes words exactly as they sound to him. I think of the geese again, trying to unravel their poignant message exactly as it sounds to me.

Rainbow 2020 Caithness

I hear about the Orca returning to the Caithness coast once more, a flurry of excitement for those lucky enough to witness them during their daily bout of exercise. I feel glum for a while, missing them on my own daily outing by an hour, or even less. The next evening, I visit the same spot again, but the vast sea stares back at me unapologetically, just as it always does. Like the geese, the Orca know exactly where they are going, what they are doing with their lives. Perhaps that’s why we follow them, hoping to garner some of that surety through our proximity to them, a strange sort of osmosis through our eyes, and through our ears.

And then the day turns to night again, and I look out to the west from my window. A bright star flickers in the sky, a star larger and brighter than any I have ever seen before. My Father tells me she is Venus, not actually a star, but a planet, shining brilliantly on us during April. I read again, wanting to learn more about her mysteries.

And I sleep, dreaming about departing geese and evening diamonds.

Surrendering to the darkness, and the bright star that offers her jewels up to the night.