Away Awhile

Chapter Ten
A Day out of Doors

After too long a wait, the sun has finally come. When I opened the curtains, golden light streamed into my room. I rushed round the house to open all the rest of them too, so our whole house could turn into a warm, glowing honey pot. The boys didn’t mind that I had woken them up; they started bouncing on their beds and asking (demanding) to go outside and play. None of us were keen to go into the garden though. It is overgrown with weeds and brambles; although the bluebells and forget-me-nots are lifting their heads out between the grass, we can only admire them from afar. None of us has been able to brave fixing the garden for months now and it has become a thorny jungle.

Dad said maybe it’s time we go along with the National Trust’s invitation. They had opened all their parks and gardens for people to enjoy during the isolation. But, said Mum, and this was an important but, we had to make sure we remained in that same isolation even outside the house. The pandemic wasn’t over and we had to maintain its rules. This meant no going to crowded places or around other people. I understood, of course, and I drummed it into my brothers’ heads until they were solemnly nodding my instructions back to me. We packed the car with a picnic and drove off to one of the Trust parks in the area.

It was still very early in the day. The parents thought that the sooner we set off, the less people we’d accidentally bump into. Some of the morning mists still hung enticingly in the air. I always thought that the morning mist was the last cover for the night’s mysteries. Once it faded away, everything was safely hidden once again for the day. After such a long time in the house, it was wonderful to be under the sky and running through the grass. The park had many more spring flowers blooming and I breathed each of their scents in. I did not flick off any insects that landed on my hands; I felt a new perspective for them now. While we had to stay at home, they were the only keepers of the mosses, plants and trees. It was far from my place to have anything but admiration for them. I wonder if they preferred it with us humans away?

The boys and I played hide and seek in the woods. We crouched in bushes and between trunks; I even managed to climb up a few branches. While I hid, covered by the new green leaves, I felt myself hugging the wood and stroking the grooves in its bark, as if I was holding the hand of an old friend. It made me remember my grandfather. He was the last of the grandparents to go and the only one I remembered. I was glad he didn’t have to live through this pandemic, with all the worry of becoming ill and the fear of being alone. My friend’s grandmother was all alone. Neither her children nor her grandchildren were allowed to visit her. I heard just yesterday that, whether it was the virus or not, she didn’t have many days left.

I held the tree branch tighter as if I was holding all the grandparents. The trees were old, just like them, but the trees were safe. I made a dua, a small prayer, that that ache I felt right then could turn to love; and that the love could turn to healing for those who were ill … or to an easy and peaceful ending, for those whose times had come. Then my brothers found me and I climbed down, but I hugged the tree again before I left. I don’t think I have ever appreciated nature more than that day.

We managed to avoid other people, even during our picnic. A few hours later, as we stood by the front door of our house, we waved goodbye to the outdoors. I wondered when we would meet it again. Dad switched on the news and the headlines hit me right in the heart. All schools and businesses were to close. All cafes and shops were to close. All gardens and parks were to close. The nation was now, officially, in lockdown.


Continuing the story of the semi-fictional journal entries of a child, based on what is happening. Taking inspiration from real life scenarios; a little of the sad and grave aspects, a lot of the uplifting, rallying together aspects. Chapters are about all the community work that is really happening, looking after neighbours and the elderly, ways children can and are preoccupying themselves, and inward reflection.
Good for kids to read, being written in a child’s voice. Short chapters with original illustrations.
(NB: this chapter is set before the lockdown.)