Covid. Pandemic. Plagues that follow the tracks people make in their journeying to and fro. Interacting, as humans do. Until times like these.
It’s not new. History is full of the times of fear and disease, of deaths in high numbers.
None of that matters when it’s close to home. We fear the unknown, even though it isn’t unknown. We fear the memory of it happening again. And to those close to us. It brings fear of contact. It brings blame and strained relationships.
Fear is more contagious than any virus or disease. It takes only one case to create fear, but that fear balloons into a monstrous, amorphous shape that clouds the sky, clouds vision, clouds reason. Fear rules.
Fences go up, distances enforced. Neighbours wave away those who were once invited in for a cuppa and a chat. Mail delivered to the wrong box gets thrown on the lawn rather than brought to the door.
The postie doesn’t bring the parcel to the house. It gets dropped on the path, two metres from the entrance.
Food deliveries. Do they ring the bell? Knock? No. The groceries sit in the sun unless there’s someone to notice a vehicle stopping in the street. But on a busy street, no one is certain which is close and which is distant, so the food melts, or stales, or disappears like gold dust into the land of the fairies.
These are the times people build tall fences, wear armour, keep rabid dogs at their boundaries. These are the times people fear others. All others. Anyone not family, not immediate blood-related, is a stranger, and strangers are dangerous. We know that, we’ve learned it through our childhood.
It’s not for children anymore. It’s for everyone. We have become self-isolators in so many ways. Fearful, distant, and aggressive to difference.
How long will it take to move beyond that fear?
I don’t have answers. Do you?