from Megan in Brisbane, Australia: no man is an island

May 20.

John Donne – Meditations 17

Good news for Queenslanders – Restrictions have been eased, and what is allowed is clearly depicted in the visual above.
After carefully studying this roadmap, I set out with a neighbor and my dog Holly for a walk along the creek near our respective houses. The path winds through trees and bushland, with the sound of the water running over the rocks as a soothing background. There are about four children’s parks on the route, outdoor gyms, and an off leash area for dogs. Very well designed public space, catering for the needs of the community.

It’s the first time I’ve been for a walk along this path in two months, and I was quite overwhelmed by the experience. ‘Every man and his dog’ has now taken on its literal meaning. I couldn’t move for the number of people on the path and was amazed at the size and number of the dogs out walking. Great lumbering animals thundered down the path toward Holly and me, dragging their bedraggled owners, who were trying to appear in control,  behind them, and my neighbour was lost somewhere in the crowd.

So much for 1.5 m distancing. It was every man (and dog) for himself. Dogs were bounding along, desperate to greet other dogs, people were trying to extricate themselves from the mess of harnesses and leashes and pretending that theirs were not the dogs snapping and growling or doing their ablutions on the path, causing holdups for the rest of us; theirs were not the dogs sniffing these ablutions and causing more holdups, traffic jams and even  “bumper bashing”.

Despite this chaos, the general spirit was much better than any I had experienced before. People were more willing to engage, to exchange friendly words, to have brief conversations. Isolation is not normal for social creatures and the people out walking that day served as a reminder of our need to engage with others, that no man is an island, and that 1.5m distancing does not come naturally.