Bugle Ed’s comment – June 2020

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone
Now if you listen closely
I’ll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
‘Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.
Alone, all alone
but nobody
Can make it out here alone

This is by the American writer Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014). It is an abridged version of her poem first published in 1975, but the sentiments are very appropriate for us in lockdown. Human beings, of all ages, are not meant to be alone, isolated, separated from each other by walls, windows or even a couple of metres. It’s unnatural because we are social creatures who thrive on simple, regular contact with friends and family. Keeping our distance is hard, not being able to shake hands when we meet friends or hug our dear ones, has been the hardest to bear. Of course we understand the reasoning behind the term ‘social distancing’ (more accurate would be to call it anti-social distancing!) and people’s obedience to it has been superb. But just when we need the close comfort of those we love the most, that is exactly what we are denied. Just when we need the combined strength of those around us, we cannot access it in the way we used to. Just when we need to get together, face to face, to share how we are all managing, and to laugh too, we are prevented.

If it wasn’t for the technology most of us now enjoy, the situation would be far worse. Some people have Smart phones, Facetime, Houseparty, Zoom, Facebook and other social media sites. At the very least we have what the phone was originally invented for, and just talk. But for families riven apart to keep their elderly and vulnerable relatives safe, it is excruciatingly hard not to be able to physically meet up. Many have missed special occasions, birthdays and anniversaries. All we know is that the catching up with all those we hold dear, and from whom we have been parted, is going to be one hell of a very special occasion!

The British way is to ‘keep calm and carry on’. Carry on by keeping our spirits up and having a laugh together. The British way is also to be creative, inventive and quick to get organised. Our village has demonstrated, along with many others, all those attributes. Our local community has pulled out all the stops to help ensure those in lockdown are not forgotten and not suffering any more than is necessary. Delivering food, medication and other basic supplies has been fantastic. Local shops and food businesses have been quick to adapt not only to help out people who cannot travel, but to stay viable as a business. We need our local outlets more than ever and hope their increased trade will continue long after lockdown is sorted out. Bildeston has pulled together proving Maya Angelou’s point that, ‘nobody, but nobody can make it out here alone.’

We are social distancing, keeping apart, but, ironically, we have never felt so together. Thank goodness we live in Bildeston, where no-one needs to feel alone.