Life in Isolation: A short chronicle of Easter 2020…

Good Friday

The sky is steel grey and a fine drizzle has started as we set off for our morning walk. It’s very quiet around the lake. All the grand buildings are closed. It’s weirdly calming to wander in these public places alone.

On the way home we stop for a takeaway cuppa at the new little café in Bowen Park. We have been waiting for this place to open for months and this is its first weekend. We buy some Greek sweets to take home for afternoon tea and sip our beverages in the park.

Ducks paddle in tea coloured water, mushrooms sprout in wet grass, the rain eases and we look forward to an afternoon of baklawa flavoured cosiness.

Easter (Holy) Saturday

Today the sun is shining and the air is soft with promise. We walk the streets of our neighbourhood and notice new things. Branches heavy with olives drape over the fence of our favourite neighbourhood pizza cottage. The Italian family who live in this house has been making delicious pizza for years (and we have been buying it) but for the first time today I notice the olive tree in their front garden – a symbol of home.

At 10 am this morning a joyful song (“Tiny Moments”) is released on Youtube and on the website of the Four Winds Festival. I am so deeply moved and delighted to have the words of my “Small Kingdoms” poems from Heart Stitched (a book that I created with the wonderful artist, Annie Franklin ) turned into lyrics for this beautiful, heart lifting song composed by Gordon Hamilton (conductor of The Australian Voices). The links for the song are below:

This song was supposed to be sung at the opening of the Four Winds Festival in Bermagui as a gift of hope to the people of the South Coast after the devastating bushfires last summer. The festival of course was cancelled but Gordon made this stunning video which went live at the exact time it should have been sung at the festival.

Thank you to David Francis (Festival Director) for giving me this opportunity to offer a gift of words to our neighbours at the South Coast who have endured so much over the past few months.

Easter Sunday

Today we walk the Jerrabomberra Wetlands—only five minutes stroll from our home.  It’s a blue day of chill air and bright sunshine – Canberra autumn at its most spectacular. The dairy cows are out enjoying the greenness, frogs sing in tall rushes, the smell of leaf and soil carries us on our way.

We stop to peer through the windows of bird watching hides and gaze at utter serenity—flit of wing and beak, splash of webbed feet in dark water. This is such a different Easter Sunday without the chaos of family and feasting and chocolate eggs.

This is a day of grass and sky and stillness which nourishes our hearts and strengthens us for an unpredictable future.

Easter Monday

The morning light dances gently into a new season and we make our way to the Sculpture Garden of the National Gallery. All the galleries are closed but there is so much art on display outside.

We discover an exhibit that we had not seen before (Fern Garden by Fiona Hall). We are transfixed by this extraordinary space of river pebbles, granite and astonishing tree ferns (Dicksoni Antarctica). Perhaps we would not have found this magical garden in normal times.

Our walk to the gallery takes us past some of our favourite pieces of pieces of public art. The Barramundi etched on sandstone near the National Library is particularly splendid in the subtly changing light.

When we get home our neighbours’ children excitedly deliver a plate of lunch to our door. We are so grateful to have friends close by.

CI 82

My evening highlight is a Zoom Open Mic. with many dear friends from the poetry community in our city. It’s lovely to see all these familiar faces.

Easter 2020 has been strange and unforgettable but it has also been a time filled with ordinary moments of simple pleasure, kindness and hope.

© Anita Patel, 2020



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