The recently imposed health policy of lockdown has become a universal phenomenon with people across the globe experiencing the unprecedented restriction of personal movement, and isolation from friends, family and neighbours.
In Ireland national policies of self imposed isolation have been welcomed by some as an opportunity for invention, creation and innovation, and experimental family activities.
For others it has become a time of loneliness, anxiety, and even fear, as access to familiar recreational and retail opportunities have been restricted or denied.
Fortunately, I provide an essential professional service, which requires me to leave my home in the country each morning, and to return again. in the early evening.
I live in a house on the edge of a country golf club estate in Ireland, which is separated from other houses in the estate by trees and thick lush hedges, affording me both privacy and social distancing from my neighbours.
The lush vegetation which encompasses my dwelling place, is also a secure haven for diverse species of garden birds, whose cheerful and melodious songs are a joyful welcome when I return home from a busy clinic and take my place in relaxed comfort on my garden patio.
I have several bird feeders suspended in the hedges, and habitually fill these each morning, and occasionally throughout the day on a weekend while at home.
The feeders have attracted a variety of garden birds and cooing doves, whose melodious exchanges are a delightful and welcome interruption to the country solitude.
Over the past few weeks a local Robin has sought my company and made himself known to me by perching on the garden table close to where I would be seated, and curiously, and fearlessly, casting intermittent glances in my direction, while I read the newspaper or sip my coffee.
His willingness to socialise with me has prompted me to place morsels of fat ball or seeds on the nearby table, and with predictable regularity he will return for grateful nibbles, or a take away to his family in the nearby hedge.
I talk to him when he is near, or whistle gently with hopes of being understood, and hope that he is comforted by my presence, as I am by his.
The Robin, or “Robbie” as I’ve nicknamed him, has become my friend and companion over the past 6 weeks of lock down and isolation, and I am hopeful that his take away meals will serve to support the nurture of any growing chicks in his family, whom I would happily welcome to my table, if Robbie decides to initiate an introduction.
Lockdown affords an opportunity to be quiet and observant, and to discover some of Nature’s hidden treasures which may be closer to us than we imagine, providing a healthful remedy for the ills of the noisy and busy world which lockdown has forced us to abandon for a season.
by Neville Wilson who is a doctor based in Kilcock
Rathcore Country Club, IRELAND
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