“Lockdown in Catalonia” since March 16th and counting. It is a necessary and essential means to justify and contain this pandemic. Yet, out of this disaster the true values of living are being pushed to the surface, like young plants in spring. They have been buried for too long.
It is a time of not only unity in the Ebro River valley communities: forming new friendships (be it digital or otherwise); taking time to revive family talk-time; dusting off the old chess set that has been sat on top of the wardrobe for too long; but also a period of inner reflection; drawing on the deeper strengths of our character ; exploring new hobbies and crafts; reading and studying; paying respects, thanks and gratitude to all our health care professionals and workers and the bio-technological researchers racing against time to find a vacinal cure.
So, I ponder on the Zen of life by taking a word and digesting it letter by letter in my thoughts’ recipe.
E =B = R = O =V = O = I = C= E
E = Ebro River is the essence of life to our valley, mountains, towns and Delta. The essence of your day depends on you. Think about it!
B = Believe in yourself, then others will too.
R = Remember / reflections – that silence is sometimes the best answer. Hum along to the old song “The Sounds of Silence” or as my old Mum used to say, “Silence is golden.”
O = Open your arms to change and opportunities, open your thoughts to new mediums and open your eyes to what is going on around you. We cannot be an oyster in times like these. Shine like an opal for others.
V = Visualize it! Venture out of your comfort zones. The virtual world engulfs us in isolation. Use it to your advantage especially if you are alone. Learn to play chess or scrabble online you will make many new friends. If you have land go grow some vegetables. I know we can’t pop down to garden centres, but we all eat veggies and can grow new vegetables the old fashioned way or how we did so as kids. Carrots/beetroot/onion toppings, or even aubergine and garlic-they all grow out of nothing. Potatoes propagate in a pot just by cutting one up into cubes. Red,yellow, green peppers taste them, visualize them as you cover the seed head under compost.
O = Opinions tread carefully here. Our opinion may not be the same as someone else’s. There is no right or wrong. In this period of containment we are living in close quarters with others. Feelings run high and patience expires quickly. A colloquial expression that is very appropriate here is; Put your brain into gear, before opening your mouth. ( I need to often remind myself of this.)
I = If opportunity doesn’t come knocking, build a door. We all have intelligence, different levels but we can expand them. We may have to be inside, but we don’t have to live 24/7 inside our own thoughts. Communicate, share inter-cultural activities (digital or otherwise) and remember knowledge is only as powerful as the next person you share it with . That is intelligence!
I think the ‘Balcony singers of Italy’ were so inspirational to the nation and Europe – it soon caught on and viral orchestras and operas have given so much pleasure to so many people – ‘Grazie mille italiani’.
C = Compassion / consideration /commitment/control. All very powerful words use them in your actions cleverly. Don’t complain about being bored. Everyday get up, get dressed, make your bed and do something. It doesn’t matter what. Just do something!
E = Expressions /excitement/excel/enlighten/encouragement . Look around you and see how a smile can change the whole day of an old person or a child. Encourage others at home to live and not just go about grumpily. Excel in learning new things from others young and old. When someone doesn’t know or understand something in a second, third or even their home language enlighten them or teach them how to use Thesaurus. Encourage your youngsters keep a scrapbook, journal and adults to can write down the humour as well as horrors and sprinkle with ideas on how they kept themselves amused and others with hyperlinks and images. I’m sure there will be a film coming out after all of this.
Embrace the family you have – near and far. In these horrifically, scary times we are living in some people may lose all their loved ones. Be grateful for all the odds and sods, warts and kisses too.
Charlie Brown summed it all up: “Keep looking up – that’s the secret of life.”
Credits: Thank you kindly to Claudia Tapalagas for this tranquil scenery of our beautiful River Ebro.
(c)Tales from the Ebro River Valley: RosieReay