Sitting in the silent little office at the back of my Covid-closed shop dealing with long-ignored paperwork, I have got to ruminating about the extraordinary situation we all find ourselves in. And the more I think about it, the more it feels like Mother Nature has just said "Right, that's enough. I've tried asking nicely, but now I'm sending you all to your rooms to think about your behaviour".
Somewhere along the line we seem to have got away from any sense of social or personal responsibility, away from community spirit and away from kindness for its own sake. An increasing sense of entitlement to have whatever we want, whenever we want it has led to a raft of 'overs': overconsumption, overambition, overindulgence, overdevelopment, overemphasis on the importance of self and at the end of the day a vast overestimation of our own immortality.
Although no-one would ever wish the unimaginable suffering that Covid-19 has wrought on anyone, what it does seem to have done is to force the world stop and think. To find new ways of doing things. To travel less. To take the time to keep in touch. A new-found respect for the legions of key-workers on the front line; a profound sense of social responsibility to self-isolate and socially distance; an appreciation of what we have, and rather wonderfully, a re-focus on community; on helping others who are less fortunate or more vulnerable than ourselves.
In our little community in North Yorkshire, people are daily finding new ways to help others, from delivering food and medication, to sewing PPE supplies, to creating activity packs for local children, to phoning people who are on their own. The worst of situations has brought out the very best in people, and we can but hope that when the current crisis is over, this shift will not be forgotten. Kindness really does matter - to others and to our planet.
Amongst all the stuff that's put out on social media, I found this picture which really spoke to me. As a vision for the future, it could be a lot worse.
- Mo MacLeod