The long grass was cold on his bare feet. Above him, against the pure blue sky, Richard could see the silhouette of a wood pigeon perched in the sycamore tree. He knew the bird was there long before he saw it. “Bring two cows, Richard. Bring two cows, Richard. Bring two cows, Richard. Now.”
The song of the wood pigeon was taught to Richard as a child by his mother. It was all about a farmer going to the cattle market. Richard had been delighted that the farmer had the same name as him.
In the few minutes that he stood there admiring his garden and thinking about his mother, the sun had slowly nudged its way across the sky and was now warming his toes.
“Plans for the day,” he thought, “weeding, preparing a second area for the peas and tidying up the path by the shed.”
Plenty to keep him physically and mentally busy at a time when being positive is so important.
But Richard’s mind began to wander to thoughts of the time he had pneumonia. During the illness he had a couple of asthma type attacks. Not able to breathe, paramedics were called. Fortunately the attacks lasted no more than a couple of minutes, but Richard knew that he didn’t ever want to go through that again.
Self-isolation and social distancing, much more acceptable words at this time than ventilators and death.
“Right! Time to make a start on the garden”, he announced to the wood pigeon as he headed back into the house to change into his gardening clothes. “Those weeds aren’t going to pull themselves up”.
Richard worked hard until lunchtime. A chance to refresh and rest his achy bones. A heron slowly and silently surveyed the gardener’s work as it passed over, no doubt on the hunt for its own midday meal.
After lunch Richard returned to the garden and more weeding. Elton John joined him for most of the afternoon, singing Your Song over and over again on his internal jukebox. “This one’s for you”, he muttered to a neighbours cat, who had popped into the garden to make full use of the facilities i.e. freshly dug soil.
Little else occupied his mind that afternoon apart from the thought of settling down in the evening with a cold beer and something mind numbing on the TV.
On the whole Richard’s day had been positive, but every siren that passed the house was a stark reminder that all was not well with the world.
Based on actual events.