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Lockdown: by Ute Wiechern

“ My personal diary”

From the 9th of March to the 18th of May an unknown virus - called Sars Covid 19 - obliged the whole of Italy to live in a total lockdown. Nobody could come in, nobody could get out of the country or any of its comunities.

For th first time in my life l was "confined" to my own home. I was living in a state of total silence, which I had never experienced previously. At the beginning I didn't feel "imprisoned", as many people did; on the contrary, I perceived a great freedom to do things for which I never seemed to have had time before: practical things like cleaning thoroughly the fridge, sorting out old things from cupboards and wardrobes, but also more gratifying ones like classifying old photos and letters and reading more books. But, in order not to forget what my own voice sounded like, I also phoned a lot, I twittered and e-mailed more than ever before. And, last but not least, the forced isolation also stimulated my palate, and I did a lot more cooking than usual.

Yet, the evenings sent me back to reality. The media told me, that the number of infected people was rising steadily and so many people went to hospital, received intensive treatment or even died. Doctors and nurses and many others of the hospital staff were losing their lives too, because they got infected by the virus themselves, they were overworked and there was a lack of sanitary equipment. It was terrible, and nobody could say, how and when this tremendous plague would come to an end. Then, some time in May, the numbers of new infections, of hospitalized persons and dead tended to decrease. People were happy, sang the national hymn on their balconies, and in Rome they improvised themselves as musicians. They played guitars, violins, trumpets and clapped their hands to express their joy and to honour all the doctors, nurses and hospital staff, who had worked day and night to save human lives, and some died themselves after having given their best.

But the Covid 19 crisis was by no means over. We were told, that there can't be a victory over the virus, unless a vaccine was found. And that would take a lot of time. So I asked myself: Will we ever be able to return to our previous lives? Maybe and maybe not, because the blow was really very hard. Then another question came to my mind: Will we ever be able to determine our lives ourselves again, or will they be administered by new circumstances? So I fled into a dream. I imagined myself in a journey through Italy, along its beautiful coasts, to its mountains, its undiscovered little villages and towns, but not in the conventional way, i. e. by car, no, by walking, cycling and by train. Was it a reaction to our "too much" in our past lives? Was it a desire for a simpler and slower life?

It made me think of Federico Fellini, who once said, that he would like to travel all over Italy in a horse-drawn coach, if, one day, he wouldn't have any new ideas for a new film.But he didn't live long enough to fulfill his dream And my journey will remain a virtual one too, not for lack of time, but for a lack of physical energy.

Fortunately there were better days to come. On a beautiful day of March, we were finally allowed to go out and have walks. Our beautiful Park yet remained closed on most days. So people just walked along the carfree streets of our little town with their babies in babynests, small children taken by hand, dogs on leashes, old people in wheelchairs - all of them wearing the obligatory mouth and nose mask. And there was a great serenity and a silent joy in the air. And the trees with their fresh green foliage, the peonies, the blue and yellow iris, the roses the white blooming jasmine......all of them seemed stronger in colour and perfume than they were in my childhood memories. To my surprise, I also liked all the unknown people we met, all of them. There was an unexplainable feeling of closeness I felt towards them, although in the hustle and bustle of pre-Corona times I sometimes perceived them as bothersome and annoying. Then a picture from my childhood came into my mind: Yes, it was exactly like this, when we were all walking on Sundays, the whole family, not driving by car to reach far away places., but just walking in the woods or in the open countryside. And my feeling was, that also the others had this deep feeling of joy in themselves. And if we could save this sensation of a inner joy and transport it into a future, that will doubtlessly become noisier and more agitated?

But after another 3 weeks of blissful silence in the streets, the sound of the first motor vehicles was coming back and it was growing day by day. It didn't take long, and the drivers became impatient, they overtook each other, hooping frequently. Some motorcyclists reared up on the backwheels of their motorcycles, making a terrible noise, and I asked myself: Where are all these motorized people going, since there are only 6 kilometres between the north and the south of our town and further they were not allowed to go? And by the way: Wasn't it scornful behaviour towards those, who stayed at home for saving other lives?

And now I'm doubting, that through the Corona shock we'll get any closer to the solution of big problems like Climate Change and Inequality in the world.

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