If you close one eye and squint, you might just see the outline of Mount Warning. Well, almost. For just a few hours yesterday the mountain was visible. I must be careful not to claim the mountain is back, because clearly it didn’t go anywhere. It just hasn’t been visible much lately, due to the clouds, mist, or heat-haze we have had hovering across the valley. Today, it was hidden again.
Just as the mountain teased us all with a hint of normality, so too did Covid-19. Australia had no new community transmitted cases for a short while, until late last week. Somehow, it has leeched into Sydney, sending the country into a panicked frenzy of border closures again. The Queensland border, which is just up the road from us, had reopened. The community rejoiced. The locals were free to cross between states without being scrutinized as if they were lepers. Families planned on travelling far and wide across Australia to be together again for the first time in months, to celebrate Christmas.
It seems like it was all a cruel joke. In many ways, people are suffering more from the promise of seeing their loved ones only to have that promise ripped away, than they were when they thought they couldn’t be together at all. Tonight on the news, we saw scenes at airports, of people disembarking from ‘planes only to be told they couldn’t stay. Border closures were announced mid-flight. The government would pay for their return flight, or they could go into two weeks quarantine. Theose were the choices – four days before Christmas.
I am one of the lucky people. My children and grandchildren all live nearby, in the same state. We can spend Christmas together. Our friends from Sydney, who were going to join us, have to stay home. Their visit will have to wait. My heart bleeds for those people who are not fortunate in having their family close by, as I do.
Did I just note that it’s just four days to Christmas? I have so much to do in so little time!
In other news, tonight at 9:02pm – just over two hours ago – our summer solstice occurred here on the eastern coast of Australia.