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The tree of hope

Mother under her tree, watercolour painting by Leanne Talbot Nowell

My mother says she’s happy to sit on her green garden chair these quarantine days. Sheltered under the tree she planted in front of her home in South Africa. She is crocheting a blanket for her Great-grandchildren. A sunbird is feeding its baby in a little nest in the branches above. Butterflies flit passed while zebras and warthogs munch the lawn at her feet. There is a clear pecking order amongst the water birds on the pond. A lonely cormorant perches on the broken fountain spout. It dives under water and submarines around until it pops up unexpectedly between the lilies. The Egyptian geese couple for life, and make their fluffy nest amongst the bullrushes. My mother is an artist who lives alone with more than a thousand people in a spacious retirement village. Nobody is allowed to nip out for a walk. Although she sometimes finds a slice of cake or a packet of rusks pushed in through her kitchen window.

My Dad (82) and step-Mom live in a another retirement village. They are not allowed to walk either. They moved into their new home just days before the lockdown. They’ve dreamed of decorating their comfortable nest and had great plans for the garden. But without the help of a gardener my Dad can’t do much because of his bad knees. The curtains are too short for the window – amongst other things. So their dreams are on hold while they make the best of purgatory.

We are all stressing about why, what and when. Waking up in the night with trepidation. And why we eat too many Easter eggs? I can’t understand what all the fuss is about being fat. Now that I am fat, I feel quite well. A little more wobbly, that’s all.

Simon spent the entire day lying in the sun on the deck chair listening to travel podcasts. He went all over the world hearing about wonderful places, but the most interesting was the southern region of Germany, called Allgäu, where we would be right now had the virus not spread itself everywhere. Allgäu, in particular “Altusried” is the town where he now owns a holiday house. He inherited it from his mother last year. We lost both his parents within weeks of one another. It was a hard year. Their dying wish was that we keep the door open for the whole family. That applies to our friends too.

Our door remains closed in Marino. Today the mayor reported 79 cases of covid-19 infections in town. Yesterday there were 72, so the numbers are going up. All of the new infections are in a rehabilitation center. 6 people have died. We noticed a lot more traffic and movement today. People have had enough. Most of them live very intense and dramatic lives in small apartments.

In Italy we have lost almost twenty thousand people. 4092 new infections (that we know of) and 431 deaths today. The curve model looks more like a forest of trees, each day another tree – tall – shorter – taller – tall – short – tall.

I have branched out and painted from my imagination today. This picture features my Mom, but it’s also about all of us. Sitting with nature, doing something useful, being aware of our roots.

2 thoughts on “The tree of hope

  1. So wonderful to have an artist explain her inspiration for a painting, rather than have a critic give their interpretation:) Now thinking of Heather under her tree

    1. Thanks Lynda. Yes, it’s a very lovely tree and she has grown white and pink roses rambling around the green chair. Although they are at risk of being eaten by the zebbies!

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