With the highly infectious Covid 19 virus worsening in Victoria a “State of Disaster” has been declared. In regional Victoria we enter another six weeks of stage three restrictions. There are only four reasons to leave home; a medical appointment, brief shopping, work or study and exercise. We can’t have anyone visiting our homes. On Sunday afternoon there were joyful cries as two women friends met accidently on the footpath.
Life on my corner block has become very quiet. I have only one neighbour who lives behind his seven foot fence. The park and the empty Hall are on the other side and the grain silos opposite.
The tourists who thronged our small town viewing our silo art, no longer visit. There is no one admiring the bright eyes of Millie the barking owl who adorns the full length of a tall concrete silo. No eager tourists with cameras and drones record the lifelike painting of the three working draught horses on the silo opposite my house.
The New South Wales border is closed. The empty V/Line bus that now runs from Yarrawonga and connects with trains at Benalla swishes through the town six times a day without stopping. No one waits at the bus stop, no one gets off. The radio plays the rhythmic beat of the song, “Living in a ghost town!”
Passing the local cemetery I see the stark reality of the pandemic; a funeral where the only mourners are five men in navy suits standing distanced from each other around a freshly dug grave.
A rumble on a rough patch of road heralds a truck going to the silos. Any activity over there has become company. The sound of wheat being loaded onto the truck is of welcome manmade origin!
The most positive experience is collecting our mail from the post office. Here those who are living alone have contact with other people. We smile behind our masks and greet each other with enthusiasm. Our postmistress radiates good cheer from behind her safety screen.
Bird life is restricted by human activity. With no one around varieties and numbers have increased and the bird song is beautiful. Brightly coloured parrots lift our spirits. A friendly honey eater is already conning me to share the coming fruit harvest.
Now that we have “Time,” we have no excuse to procrastinate. All those tasks that we have pushed aside can now be done.
In my quiet corner of the world, peace reigns. This day is mine to mould as I wish. There is no pressure, there’s nothing I have to do, but so much that can be achieved. Friends and family have become even more important. Although they are far away I can sit down with a coffee and the phone for a pleasant interlude.
When I was very young I promised myself that someday I would spend some time alone. In later years I completely changed my mind. Be careful what you wish for! That time is here; right now.
We look forward to better times to come.