Our little Meyer lemon tree as of this morning. We have been harvesting for weeks and still no end.
And here, for all the fans of bitter plants belonging to the genus Cichorium, is the buttery heart of catalogna puntarelle di Galatina deep inside its rocket-fennel-liquorice tasting leaves. It's a bit of a task to grow and we are mighty proud of our harvest.
There are the three positive aspects that carry me through these strange times. One, I am an old hand at this, living as a social recluse more or less for the last ten years. Two, for many years, we, that is R and me, have developed the fine art of close (grand-)parenting, despite the vast geographical distance between our dinner tables. And three, my father is a staunch defender of - what he calls - civilised conversation versus wimpish physical expressions of emotions.
It helps. I am not at a loss, or at least not more than usually, when I think of my once weekly phone call with him, all properly civilised, while listening to a friend's tearful lament because she misses hugging her dad. And later, I mention this over whatsapp to my daughter, who nods her wise nod, while we cheer the grandchild jumping over sofa cushion mountains on the other side of the planet.
It's not ideal, but nothing is.
In the evenings, I wrap myself in a blanket and listen to the latest science podcast on the pandemic, to the eager voices explaining vaccine studies and virus mutations and protein sequencing and viral loads and it all washes over me like a soothing lullaby. In the early days, way back in spring, I would take notes and read through the scripts and references, trying to squeeze understanding into (out of?) my mediocre scientific brain capacities. Now, I just feel reassured that there are people who will not give up, who love research for the sake of it. And sometimes, I imagine these scientists coming home to their families after a long day, maybe playing with their kids for a while before dinner.
By now, admittedly, I just want us to make it through in one piece. There is one unconfirmed case in the care home where my father lives. The infection rate here is beginning to decrease ever so slightly now that we have completed our first week of the November semi lockdown, but it's too early and the number of Covid patients on the intensive care ward, two floor above my office, has tripled in as many weeks. Still manageable, but only just about.
"The pandemic is not an inevitable fate. We determine by our behavior whether the situation gets worse or better.
. . . personal freedom cannot be achieved in isolation from society. In order for the freedom of all to be maintained, it is in turn necessary that people stand up for one another and take responsibility for one another. The better it works, the less intervention and regulation is required.
The pandemic has shown how relevant this principle is. The more I act responsibly as an individual of my own free will, the less reason I give the state to intervene in social life. The more thoughtless and selfish I act, the sooner the state has to restrict my freedom in order to effectively protect the community as well as the well-being of other people."