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Pandemic Days Pandemic Days
by Nikos Laios
2020-10-14 09:30:24
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Ran on the beach early this morning in Bulli which is a small coastal surfing village on the east coast of Australia, and the sun rising up from the east over the wide Pacific Ocean catches wisps of mist rising up from the sea, and pools of light dancing on the cool crashing waves, surging and foaming on the sandy beach. On the norther side of Bulli beach is Sandon Point, which is a popular surfing point, and the morning sun catches the bright yellow daffodils gently swaying in the breeze, and the ocean is shining like a sheet of glass under the sunlight, and local surfers paddle out to catch the morning sets of waves.

pan001_400Bulli is quite a stunning place, located on a small coastal strip with the ocean on one side and an escarpment on the western side bristling with Eucalyptus trees. Up until the late 70’s Bulli was still considered a semi-rural surfing village, though it has become a suburb is protected and cut off from any major town by the escarpment which encloses it to the west and the north. It still retains that county feel, and the raw beauty of nature there is something to behold, and in the mornings and afternoons when the sunlight is warm and glowing it illuminates the place. I live on Sydney harbour which is located some 85 kilometres North from Bulli, but in spring and summertime I come down most weekends to mum’s place at Bulli beach, and from there indulge my passion and love affair for the nature of Bulli. Now that spring has arrived in Australia, it has given me a much needed respite from the claustrophobia of the pandemic days that we are currently living in.     

How the world has changed from the start of the year when the pandemic entered our lives. Everything that we knew and love has changed, job security and social interactions upended. The materialist consumption, the superficiality of travel, body image and millennial obsession with Instagram fame now fading to irrelevance. Many people I know – both family and friends both here in Australia and Greece – have suffered through economic hardships; reduced employment or complete unemployment, bills stacking up that cannot be paid, the psychological stress of young people with a bleak future in front of them, and the isolation from other people and the virtually empty cities and towns. Cafes, restaurants, shopping malls, boulevards and city squares empty of people, and vacant office blocks.

For those of us that do work and now work from home and there’s the subsequent realisation that the old 9-5 Monday to Friday work paradigm and the travel to and from work has now changed. That working from home has freed people from the need to live in capital cities, and where we are seeing that people are starting to movie out from overcrowded cities for a sea-change to rural and outer metropolitan areas.     

This year has also been a mixed year for this writer, where the year started with uncertainty for the future, the sudden imposed social isolation, and the realisation that I became bored with my daytime employment. But now in the start of October with the arrival of spring, this year has become one of opportunity and profound positive philosophical reflections. Where it has become a very productive period for my poetry and art, brought me much closer to my family, immersed myself in nature and culminated with new exciting employment with an increase in pay. I also know of other friends who similarly have found this Pandemic year to be one of profound positive growth, opportunity and change, rather than a negative year. For in moments of stress like this year, family becomes a bedrock that anchors and grounds our souls, and reintegrates us into a more authentic and positive life than the superficial life that we left behind from the pre-pandemic days.

I’m back in North Sydney now and I look forward with anticipation to the next weekend for new adventures, where I’ll pack on overnight bag stuffed with board-shorts and a selection of poetry books and music. Where the alluring nature of Bulli beach awaits, warm and happy times with the family and friends, and the Resin Brewing pub with their delicious crystal beer and chicken wings covered in melted blue cheese and a plate of thickly cut fried chips, and the hours of silence spent soaking up the serenity of the lush beauty of this small coastal surfing town, and the new poetry that will be inspired by it. I can hear the siren song calling and seducing me, where one day I will return permanently to Bulli beach.    

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All photos, included the Cover Page by Nikos Laios

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