The COVID-19 lockdown is steadily easing and though times are still difficult, sighs of relief are abound. Holiday companies are recording a huge upsurge in bookings as international travel bans ease, the leisure industry is beginning to open its doors and tourist spots seem as busy as ever. Last month I noticed social networking filled with the cries of ‘Who’s going where on July 4th?’ and the answers scared me, certainly if incidents like Bournemouth Beach are to be a lesson. Littering and fires are on the rise, vehicles are abandoned casually and fears for National Parks are voiced. I fear a Tsunami of Tourists are on the way during the summer. The RNLI and MRT’s have been rushed off their respective boots and wellies. There has and will continue to be much comment about COVID and its effects upon our lives. Voice and opinion are everything, but shouting is not. Shouting is something I abhor – I always have…
During the lockdown many have been celebrated, particularly the NHS and key workers. Much has been made in the media about their work and it has been well received. The Clap for Carers and more locally to myself, the Belper Moo have brought people together at times when life was, at best, difficult. Focal points are vital to bring people together. Sadly there has also been violence, protest, overcrowding and lots and lots of shouting. Hashtags, though useful and informative have been used like ordnance and as Octave Mirbeau wrote – “The greatest danger of bombs is in the explosion of stupidity that they provoke’.
The noise has been as a Volcano – loud and destructive, but probably short lived.
I’m not going to get involved in politics here as I find it divisive, but under all the bluster and noise, there has been a great deal of quiet, unseen work going on…
Millions of people have been working from home, quietly keeping what wheels they can turning. Though industry may be retuning to whatever the ‘New Normal’ is (Who thinks of these phrases?), many have been working away through difficult times to keep things moving. I, like thousands of others, work in the utility industry and have been keeping the Electricity, Gas, Water and Telecommunications silently running in the background.
No-one would be working without us.
No Zoom Calls.
COVID or not, we need to work.
Floods or not, we need to work.
Snowdrifts or not, we need to work.
And we do it with little bluster.
I’ve flatly refused to use my Key Worker privilege when it comes to queuing at shops and supermarkets, as I see my self no different to everyone else in the line.
We are Tectonic. We move quietly, with energy enough to form mountain ranges and move continents, but when we whisper, the world shakes.
I’ve been speaking and working quietly behind the scenes with the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. Not only supporting them, but also talking about life, ideas, and keeping our respective heads above water. The human voice, visual contact and hopefully soon physical contact are what keep human beings emotionally alive. We have all relied on the web lately and used messaging, but we have not evolved for this. Technology has far outstripped evolution and those who cannot use it feel isolated. I have personal experience of this as a carer for my elderly mother. Whilst the Instagram Generation plaster themselves across the web, many still feel lost and lonely. What they need is human interaction, not selfies. I wonder if they will be posting from their death beds in the future to see how many likes they can get?
Flexibility has been vital over the last few months and the DofE launched their Certificate of Achievement.
Though Expeditions have been postponed, Skills, Volunteering and Physical sections can still be achieved and have been by a great many participants. Lockdown doesn’t mean give up, give in or be lazy. In many cases, it’s been a huge opportunity to get involved. All you need is a little thought and imagination. This is where we find leaders for the future. The people who, through adversity, get on with life and keep the world turning – quietly. So far, over 20,000 certificates have been awarded..!
During August and September, the DofE have launched their Virtual Adventure.
‘Today’s world is facing unprecedented challenge and change. We’re asking you to take part in Virtual DofE Adventure to raise money to support young people at this critical time so we can reach more young people than ever before”
Throughout August and September they’re aiming to walk the collective distance of the UK coastline – all 17,000km of it by encouraging people to walk 30km in their local area. So sign up and get your walking boots on..!
Here’s a blog I’ve written for the challenge with eleven top tips (yes, I know I’m different), about packing your bag, but also your companions, care, smiles and sharing…
I’m not sure what the next few weeks, months or years hold. Lord knows what the ’New Normal’, will bring, but one thing is for sure. Life is changing. Though many have short memories and loud voices, we will still have to work within boundaries we might not like, or agree with, and will have to make the choice to be volcanic or tectonic.
I know what I choose…