To the Lighthouse
These are strange times.
I am fit and healthy, with more than my share of resources to weather a crisis, but each day, each news bulletin, makes it harder to believe that everything is going to be just fine. The anxiety levels are rising slowly but perceptibly. Older friends, and those with health conditions, are getting weary of the government’s messaging, which can at times seem confused, even passive-aggressive. A family member who is a schoolteacher describes the atmosphere at work as oddly provisional, everybody waiting for an announcement that might or might not come. Friends are stocking up their boats as well as their larders.
Social media is schizophrenic. I’m fortunate in my facebook friends, and at present there is much more kindness than cruelty, plenty of humour of various shades, and some helpful advice. But from time to time the anxiety breaks through in flashes of anger and post-Brexit bitterness.
Yet so much, externally at least, is normal. The trains are still rattling along the end of my road every twenty minutes or so. The guys from the Council are out cutting the grass on the bit of community land at the back of the Pentecostal church. The couriers are still delivering the parcels.
Yesterday was a beautiful day down here. I’m still keeping myself to myself after my trip to Edinburgh, but this seemed like a good time to get some fresh and plausibly virus-free air. I took myself down to Godrevy and walked along to the lighthouse that inspired Virginia Woolf to her existential musings. Then I indulged in some existential musings of my own over tea and cake in the café. I buy into this idea that if we want our favourite bookshops and coffee houses and to be there for us when the locusts have passed through, then now is a good time to be giving them some business.
As I sat in the sunshine I looked back across to the lighthouse. Like most lighthouses, it’s a simple structure, both in form and purpose. Solar powered these days, but it would have been a good place to sit out a virus. It looked particularly white and clean against the azure sky, and without wanting to make a three-point sermon of it, it seemed like a fine symbol to take with me into the next few weeks.