This last year I must have heard people say many times, 'Well, you just have to keep on keeping on.' By focusing on little everyday acts, we may get some sense of control at a time that feels overwhelming.
At the end of Tolstoy's 'Anna Karenin, the character Levin agonises about God and the meaning of his life. Exhausted and frustrated that he cannot solve these problems by reasoning, he lies down and studies a beetle in the grass. It is busy with its own life, oblivious of him. He watches children heating jam over a candle - and hears how they are reprimanded by adults. But Levin admires the children for following their instincts. Levin concludes that the meaning of life is found in the living of it.
All the recent losses of life, near and far, bring these things painfully home. We are not forever: we are 'time beings'.
Which reminds me of another phrase I have heard throughout lockdown: 'all we have is now'.
In order to catch a little of that 'now', I sat on the allotment and sketched for 30 minutes. I couldn't hope to catch it all. I wasn't doing anything new: there it is again - the shed, the same upright canes and horizontal beds. It is another map of the same old territory.
And it certainly wasn't perfect.
But I felt the sky was open after a day of sad complexity.
Below my sketch is a photograph of my shadow as I looked down the length of the allotment - potatoes just visibly sprouting in the foreground.
How unequally luck falls! This period of lockdown seems to have accentuated those inequalities.
And when I've found that too big to think about, I've blogged - and slogged - to keep on keeping on, recording the lived experience.