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Leanne Talbot Nowell watercolour sea

If you feel trapped in lockdown – remember that we are traveling at 1.4 million kilometers per hour through hostile space on a miniscule, wobbling and watery rock. The planet is spinning in a spiral around a massive ball of blasting nuclear fusion. Our sun is also traveling by the way, and making a turn once every 28 Earth days. We don’t know where we’re going but we are going there very fast.

When worrying things happen, I sometimes beam myself up to the Hubble Space Telescope to get another perspective on the issue. Out there in deep space everything looks terrifyingly peaceful. Turn the lens towards lonely Earth, our beloved blue gem, and it’s difficult to see where the suffering is. Zoom in to about 800 km above the surface and you’ll see a lot of soul-satisfying awesomeness. Check out Simon’s images. Even the deserts are patterns. Zoom zoom zoom to micro and you will find a new coronavirus doing what it does. One needs to be incredibly brave to look with scope-eyes at the universal petri dish.

I beamed myself down to our park and had a look through the brambles at the wash-house. Immaculata (she’s fine by the way) said she used to wash their clothes and her son’s cloth nappies down there. It’s a long stone building with a fallen roof, lots of columns and two great vasche…what’s that in English? The stone vasche have sloping sides or wash-boards. She said “it was lovely to be in the open air and wash the clothes in the moving water, birds singing all around in the trees”. All the women in the community would go there to discuss and wash. No need for shrinks.

Simon says – ‘Jeder Zustand, ja jeder Augenblick ist von unendlichem Wert, denn er ist der Repräsentant einer ganzen Ewigkeit’ Goethe in a letter to Eckermann, 1823 (‘Every state, yes every moment is of infinite value, because it is the representative of an entire eternity’).

Unfortunately the numbers in Italy went UP again yesterday. 4204 new infections, and 610 deaths. Actually, the model looks more like a mountain range than a curve. We need to lift up our arms bravely to the sky, unclench our fearful fists and spread our fingers to the wind. Then zoom in to see what we can wash.