The future is uncertain and any sense of time in lockdown has a strange way of eluding us all. We pine over the pre-pandemic past that we’ve lost and we fear the uncertain territory into which we are heading.
Rather than living in a form of the past that doesn’t exist, or a future that might never happen, it is vital that we focus on living in the present. Right now, the present may seem bleak and shadowed by death and darkness, but there is so much beauty all around us.
To get through this, we have to shift our focus from the negativity that subsumes us to the beauty of the present time, lost amidst all this chaos and anxiety. Right now, it’s spring.
Spring was my one constant while my whole world had been flipped upside down
After spending the last nine months in the southern hemisphere, where the seasons happen in reverse, spring was my one constant while my whole world had been flipped upside down.
I arrived in Australia in the midst of winter in July, and it was totally worth missing summer back home to watch the world bloom around me for the second time in a year in the spring months that followed. Especially since this time, it featured kangaroos, possums and rainbow lorikeets.
Living down under also gave me a whole new perspective on the way the world exists as a unit – one so full of paradoxes and contrasts. While I was watching the rosebuds flowering in one part of the world, I never thought for a moment that at the same time, somewhere else, they are dying. Leaves are falling and flowers are dying, but I’m surrounded by so much floral beauty.
Everything autumn has lost is held in the arms of spring
Having just returned home a few days ago, I feel like I’ve cheated time by jumping straight from Australian autumn into English spring.
Spring, like autumn, is one of the liminal seasons. It’s a transitional, regenerative time and I like to think of it as autumn’s elfin cousin. The way it operates both on a continuum and separately has been magnified by jumping straight from one into the other – where autumn is sagacious, having survived the tiresome year and now withering, decaying even, into a colder period of hibernation, spring is nothing of the sort.
Spring is embryonic and energetic; it’s full of light. It’s a move away from the shadow of wintry darkness into the light of summer. Everything autumn has lost is held in the arms of spring. It’s the light at the end of the seemingly endless and soulless winter tunnel.
We are forced to watch the world blossom from our windows
The magic of spring is held in its hybridity – winter’s beauty looms throughout, while summer hangs on the season’s precipice. The reverence of spring isn’t just a personal affinity, in fact, the beauty of this season is being popularised through social media and the rise of ‘cottagecore’.
Being kept inside during lockdown means we are forced to watch the world blossom from our windows, leading us to TikTok and Twitter as platforms to satiate our craving for the meadows and forests we cannot enjoy.
The rise of the cottagecore aesthetic, a visual movement that celebrates and romanticises nature that is basically a modern-day Wordsworth, can be attributed to the longings of quarantine and lockdown.
These are the things we can no longer experience physically
Before exercise became a governmentally mandated moment of freedom, I would roll my eyes at the thought. Now, when dopamine is so scarce, my daily jog is the only thing that keeps me sane.
The smell of freshly cut grass. The earthy musk after rainfall. These are the things we can no longer experience physically, but thanks to cottagecore videos we can still enjoy them. Even if this is just vicariously. While we can’t exactly enjoy spring as much as we may have done in recent years, the beauty and hopefulness of this season are helping many of us get through this difficult time.