Random Harvest 16 During The Great Retreat

Hello again! Well, we are all approximately 3 weeks into the corona lockdown now, and I wonder how you are faring?  When I was reading a blog post  this week, the writer used the phrase, The Great Retreat, in her post, to address what she was feeling and what she was doing in her life in her own part of the world, namely the forests of New Zealand, in adapting to the Covid 19 social isolation. Her focus upon home, creativity, and nature is similar to my own, and as I’ve got to know some of you, for you too. So I’ve ‘borrowed’ Valerie’s expression for using in my title. Thank you to Valerie!  And her post, entitled ‘Keeping body and soul together’, is here if you fancy a read.

I hope you are all well, staying safe, and keeping busy. It seems this weekend may be The Great Painting Challenge, as online suppliers of house paint are very low on stock, with queuing time in place simply to virtually view online what they have not got. Easter has brought out the DIY enthusiasts, of which I am one, wanting to crack on with those jobs that have been piling up during the winter. It’s kitchen painting for me, using the paint I luckily bought a few months ago, which has been sitting patiently waiting to see the light of day. But also suffering for lack of supplies, are all those ladies who dye their own hair, of which I am also one. They want to retouch their roots, but so does everyone else, and yes, you’ve guessed it, the virtual shelves are empty. Just think of all those grey roots emerging! Not a bad thing, of course, unless you haven’t yet taken the plunge to go full grey. I am lucky here again as I have plenty of my colour in stock at home, and my hubby is a dab hand at doing this precision work, having had plenty of practice ;>)

So, on the surface, apart from having to curtail my volunteering activities, my life has been pretty much the same as usual, with my writing, painting, reading, gardening, crafting, as well as getting out in the fields for some exercise. I listen to the news in the evening to keep abreast of what is happening and I wish our PM, Boris, who succumbed to the virus himself, a speedy recovery. I have been missing friends for long chats, and have been missing being out in my car, listening to music, but mornings are mostly spent with phone chats or social media to keep in touch with people. This keeping in touch has lifted my spirits and hopefully has been reciprocal in raising other’s spirits –  so important during this time. Because although, on the surface, I feel pretty good, under the surface, I am both moved by aspects of what is happening, and I’m worrying and wondering, with many questions piling up inside.

I am moved and humbled by the wonderful NHS staff and those in care work who, due to lack of appropriate personal protection, are literally putting their lives at risk as they help care for others. Doctors and nurses have already died. I’m worried how many businesses will go under if this state of affairs carries on, in the sense that this can cause depression in the soul too. I’m appalled at the number of deaths, and shocked at how this virus enters our bodies so easily, ‘cleverly’ adapted as it is to penetrate cell walls more directly than most, and with such unpredictable outcomes, from not even knowing you’ve got it, to dying from it, and despite early indications it’s no respecter of age. I’m shocked that a local ice rink has being requisitioned to be used as a temporary morgue with white tents erected inside. This global crisis is unparalleled and of course, it’s very scary. And now, due to some people not following the rules of social distancing and hopping over to the seaside for some recreation or trying to penetrate remote Scottish Highland villages and the Lake District, I heard today that the police are making their presence felt. Roadblocks are in place. But people in a local rural town here who were social distancing during their outdoor exercise, were moved on by the police when they sat down on a bench on a river walk, with a helicopter circling above to point them out. I also heard the trolleys of some shoppers were recently stopped and checked by the police to evaluate whether the shoppers were sticking to ‘essential shopping only’. Chocolate Easter eggs, for example, did not fit the criteria. I think this action has been dropped, but still… I’ve heard people are watching one another’s movements in suburban streets to register and potentially shame someone if they take their dog out more than once a day, or if they are out for longer than an hour. These kinds of behaviours are frightening, reminiscent of oppressive party-politics and historical regimes, because we are only at the beginning of a long journey in getting back to ‘normal’.

And finally, there is that word, normal. What is normal going to be? Will we still greet friends and family with a hug? How many people will have died, and will continue to die? How many people will still be carrying the virus, only to have further outbreaks in months to come? If they create a vaccine, will it be compulsory to be injected with it? How many businesses will go under? How will we adapt back into sharing social spaces? Will we really learn better life values from this pandemic? Will the people with the power to change things learn and want to make a difference? Or will we go back to how we were, capitalism in the driving seat and looking after ‘number one’.  All these questions, and we all have them. We can’t answer them right now, we can just keep living in the now, being mindful and grateful for what we have, and keep busy – and for this blog, this means carrying on with the creative life and looking after your wellbeing. So I’ll share a few of my random harvests with you from the last couple of weeks, and trust you’ll have some of your own. They will seem trite in comparison to corona, but nevertheless they are my harvest and I get my meaning from them.


1. First of all I want to share a resource with you that came my way, from My Modern Met. The ‘Ultimate Resource Guide For Creatives’ is packed with links to amazing free resources, for artists and designers, including access to many prestigious galleries. Here is a PDF of what I was given free in a special offer which is well worth diving into : art design resources

2. I’ve been listening to spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle, speak in this sequence of videos which he has recorded for the times we are going through, entitled ‘Staying Conscious In The Face Of Adversity’. I’d never heard his voice before and it does sink into your soul somehow with his slow pace and meditative repetitions. I do some embellishing of a crochet panel at the same time. Perfectly fitting!

3. Onto decorating. This luscious bright turquoise paint was used on the back entrance to our cottage. It turned out far brighter than I intended, but I’m going with it. The plate is a charity shop find from just before the lockdown and if you recognise the design, do let me know, as the back of the plate is not giving any information away.

4. I redesigned the book cover for After Black, as you can see in the side bar, just to give it a more literary fiction feel, with more tonal contrast and more positive warming colour. The floral theme also links to the floral fabric designs the main character enjoys so much.

5. This is the latest stage with my current painting, which is a pairing for the previous Peony millefiori. This frilly Opium Poppy is coming along now, ready for the marbling effects to commence:

6. While conversing with a friend via direct message facebook chat, I seasoned some soup I was making to her instructions, and ended up with some real colour in this lentil and veg soup, thanks to half a teaspoon of paprika, and half a teaspoon of turmeric, such brand new spices for my unadventurously conservative cupboard.

7. And finally, one particular special walk in the fields (despite my sore heel), which felt like the first day of spring. The ground clay was parched and cracked, just how I like it for that desert feel, at least when I’m looking at the field tracks! The rest was lush new growth.

Accompanied by my shadow:

The parched earth:

Scots pines trees reaching for the sky:

Flowering gorse:

A clean edged field, fringed by conifers, open to the sky:

Distant hills, namely, The Eildons Hills, a primary landmark of the Scottish Borders, and a bushy hawthorn farmers hedge, with gnarled and twisted trunks, one of my favourite things.

Do let me know what you have been up to and share what is happening in your part of the world.

Stay safe, stay well, namaste from me to you.

(top log cabin painting courtesy of pixabay, all the rest, Lynne)











About lynnefisher

Writer and visual artist living in Scotland, INFJ type Writer's blog: lynnefisher.wordpress.com Art: lynnehenderson.co.uk Twitter @writeartblog Writers page Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lynnefisherheadtoheadhearttoheart/ Artists page Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lynnehendersonartist/
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18 Responses to Random Harvest 16 During The Great Retreat

  1. Margie.Merc says:

    I love the term ‘The Great Retreat’ just because. During this time, our physical bodies are confined but our world is still attainable in so many ways. And how many of us have said — “I just don’t have the time to ….” Ha! Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lynnefisher says:

      Thanks, Margie! Yes, we can do those things we never find the time for, or put off! That’s what I’ve been working on. I am now missing being with people socially, and most of all, coffee shops! The two go together for me. But there will come the time for this when we feel safer, and it will be all the sweeter after the great retreat. Stay safe, Margie :>)


  2. I always enjoy your harvests, Lynne. I’ve been thinking a good bit about “normal,” too. Who knows what that will look like? I think there are so many things going on right now that the old normal may not re-emerge, and that’s a good thing. I’ve been listen to some spiritual teachers like Tolle as well. I haven’t dipped into the particular talks that you shared, but will.
    It sounds like we are passing the days in similar ways. My writing is sparse, but my reading is prolific. I plan to finish working on an essay today.
    The landscape photos are breathtaking. You live in a beautiful place. And that soup—yum! I bet it’s as comforting as it is delicious.
    Be well.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lynnefisher says:

      Thank,s Cheryl. Weird times indeed. I’ve being thinking more about how the future will be for so many of us. Even though I keep in touch with friends and family, I miss being able to speak to them face to face, and I miss coffee shops! I can’t even go and wave at my mother through her window as she lives 2 hours away over the border. They are all safe though, for now. I have my art work on redbubble (prints and products made with artists images), and I’ve spotted that face masks have been added as a product! This is certainly going to be a new ‘norm’, so I’ve downloaded a couple of patterns from the net to make some. First kitchen painting to do though. Writing is going okay and I’m reading Margaret Atwoods, Alias Grace, which is of course brilliant. So passing the time fine but with corona at the back of my mind most of the time and the ramifications for life as we ‘knew’ it. Stay well and good going with the writing. You live is a beautiful place too, so that’s got to help. Cheers for now :>)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. G. J. Jolly says:

    That link to resources is marvelous. Thanks so much.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. hello Lynne, what a thoughtful interesting post, covering all the bases… from gratitude to anxiety and hope for a brave new world. Delighted you felt you wanted to use my phrase, and love your art work, and the views of the country-side around you.
    The turquoise door is gorgeous – a flag of fun and courage and beauty,..the things that keep us going in these times : “that try men’s souls”….
    Keep well, Love Valerie

    Liked by 2 people

    • lynnefisher says:

      Thank you, Valerie! It’s a strange time, enjoying what we usually do, and doing more of it with the freedom to do so if we live more in nature, yet tempered by being conscious of what is going on with the pandemic. I have certainly being more relaxed and want to keep that going whenever we move to the next phase of coming out of retreat. I love the ‘retreat’ concept because a traditional retreat is where we can go to withdraw from the hustle and bustle and reflect upon ourselves and our lives, and decide what is really important and what we can discard. I believe having it enforced upon us WILL make people at least think a little bit and question as we go back ‘into the fray’. Stay well, Valerie :>)


  5. galenpearl says:

    You have raised many of the same questions I’ve been wondering about myself — how will this affect us individually and collectively when it’s “over.” Will it be over??

    From other people, I hear along with anxiety about getting sick, a sense of relief. People can stay home, relax, spend time with hobbies, binge watch TV, read in the garden. One person I know, who tends to be a chronic over-doer with an overlay of martyrdom, sounds happier and more energetic than I’ve ever heard. The lockdown has given her permission that she would never give herself to just stop.

    I love the “great retreat” label. I’m going to read that post. And I’m enjoying reading comments from your other readers from all over.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lynnefisher says:

      Thanks, Galen. The ‘retreat’ is having such wide ranging effects on people depending on their living conditions, whether they have a garden or access to the countryside or whether they are are confined in a small space in a family group in the middle of a city. Some people are inevitably loving it, some hating it, but it sure is making people think and feel about life differently. My sister is a highly sociably person, has been working from home, but is also taking the time to get things she wants done, and yesterday she told me she fancied getting a kindle. Having being against the idea in the past, she is now seeing the bonuses as she can have books ‘virtually’ delivered. That is a small thing, but many people, like your neighbour, are beginning to feel they have permission to do less with less pressure ‘to do’, which can only be a good thing for their wellbeing. Shrinking contact has opened up a window of opportunity to examine what’s really important, who is really important – and that can only be for the good. Cheers, Galen :>)


  6. Bryan Wagner says:

    I love your sense of gratitude that runs through this piece. Thank you so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lynnefisher says:

      Thanks, Byran. I hadn’t picked up on that, but thinking about it, yes, it is there. I was a little worried it was too all about me, so that’s very reassuring to know the tone seems to be right. Grateful for the creative life, and increasingly these days, the spiritual life too!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sumi Singh says:

    Hi Lynne! Thanks for sharing your insight on how things are on your side of the world with the pandemic. South Africa where I’m from is on lockdown. No walking pets or even going for a run outside! For the most part, I’ve enjoyed lockdown, I’ve been wanting to rest and relax since forever with my hectic lifestyle before the pandemic and now I even get to watch TV which I hardly indulged in before. It does come at a price though, eating too much and getting out of shape. But otherwise, I don’t have too many complaints. We’ve been given a further extension on the lockdown. When that happened I had mixed feelings as I’m not sure how the virus will be contained and whether we’ll ever get back to normal. Not that I want normal back, to be honest, I feel life was far too busy and this virus came to change us in some way. I wondered if you’re still following my blog? I’ve moved from WordPress to my own site http://www.sumisingh.com and I don’t seem to be getting much comments or feedback from my WordPress followers like before.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “The Great Retreat” sounds a lot better than “Caronavirus Lockdown”! I’m glad you are doing well and staying busy. Love the poppy and cabin paintings!

    Since my employment is considered an essential business, my schedule has been pretty much the same. I am blessed to have a steady income, be healthy (so far), and have my writing to keep me busy. I just launched my latest book last Monday! I miss seeing my son and family, as their little one has a new tooth and is now crawling all over the place.

    Truthfully, my normal routine doesn’t involve getting out and about much except for shopping and errands, but I’m chomping at the bit to see family and friends in person! Not complaining though, as so many are dealing with illness, death, and financial issues. When this is over, I suspect we are facing more of an undiscovered country rather than a new normal.

    Liked by 2 people

    • lynnefisher says:

      Thanks, Alexander. Got to confess the cabin painting came from pixabay, so I’ll dip back in and clarify that. I’ll be hopping over also to see your latest posts – you’ve been working hard on that book, well done with the launch! I’m glad you are okay with your schedule staying the same. I can understand you wanting to visit your family, I want to wave at my mother and sister through their windows or talk to them in the garden, but it’s a two hour drive and crosses the border between England and Scotland, so I’d probably get stopped by the police at some point. Even so, the temptation is there to give it a go. The telephone calls and virtual face to face has been invaluable to suppress this impulse! Your expression ‘Undiscovered Country’ is perfect for what we will all be facing when we emerge from this! Thanks for sharing :>)

      Liked by 1 person

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