Updated on April 2nd, 2020

From my bedroom window I can see the sky. It looks pristine. Hard, too, like porcelain glazed in a rare turquoise colour. A hawk is drawing elegant circles up there, soaring effortlessly on the air, patiently waiting for some tiny prey to move in the grassy fields below. I wonder how she sees our world from up there. Does the lack of people make any difference to her? If anything, I’m guessing our withdrawal means she can expand… 

Meanwhile, my life has shrunk into the space of a small-town, sixth-floor flat with a balcony, to which I brought only the things I could fit into a suitcase. I live by the slow rhythms of my frail, elderly mother, housebound with her, except for some judicious food shopping and walks in fields and hills empty of people.

It’s a change, but I’m not sorry. I’m grateful that I am able to be here at all. That I’m able to support my mum. That, really, we have all we need.

I have another window to the world, too: TV, and the electronic media.

So I’m reading with amazement that the dolphins have moved back into the canals of Venice. This, it turns out, is fake news that’s spread like wildfire, which tells me something about people’s need for hope and wonder in these times of harsh realities.

Still, the hopefully (sic!) trustworthy Guardian reports that Venice canals are now blue and clear as crystal, as motor boats and vaporetti are tied up. The sandy sea bed can be seen, as well as “shoals of tiny fish, scuttling crabs and multicoloured plant-life”. Cormorants have returned and ducks have started nesting. Ducks are taking a rest in Rome’s popular Fontana di Trevi, too, as I see on pictures by Forbes, and wild boars roam the Sardinian town of Sassari.

I find the European Space Agency’s satellite Sentinel-5 images. They’re showing a significant drop in air pollution levels above the large industrial centers of locked-down Northern Italy. I am already looking forward to learn about all the good stuff that’s going to come of that!

It feels like a much-overdue shift is happening in the world. A global imbalance is finally redressing itself, to allow our tortured earth to heal.

American author Caroline Myss says each human being is like a micro-earth.

I’m imagining my organs as my continents, my bones as my firm land, my streaming blood as my rivers, my fascia as my oceans, and my mind, thoughts and emotions as my inner weather. We are all part of the same organism, so what’s happening in the macro-earth will happen in each micro-earth, too.

In these quiet, confined days, I can feel a balance shifting within me. As many of my outside activities are curtailed, my inner cosmos is expanding. As I have slowed down radically, there is room for my soul to expand. As I surrender the pressures of my life to being in the present moment, I’m starting to breathe – really breathe – again.

My body, mind and soul are coming back to themselves. It’s a homecoming. I’m re-adjusting and healing, without having to do a single thing.

So I watch the elegant hawk from my bedroom window and dream…

I dream of a world where we have come through this health crisis together, with strength, solidarity and compassion. A world where we’ve all come home to ourselves. A world where we’re humbled by, and in awe of the beauty and the resilience of life.

I dream of a world where we change our old ways to live more in the new, inner expanses of the soul we’ve re-discovered. A world where we keep Venice’s canals clear enough for the wildlife to stay, and share our cities with the animals. A world where compassion, kindness and looking out for each other are our core values. A world where life is modern and connected, yet slower, simpler, and driven more from the heart.

Sometimes I feel we’re going to be ok.

Other times I feel the fear, big time, as my mind wonders what if we’re not…

Then I imagine myself as a hawk, soaring in the pristine skies above, from where the earth looks beautiful, and the death-throes of our privileged lifestyle look like the labour pains of a new world being born.


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Photo: Monica Castenetto