Community is the focus word for this week’s #writephoto. It’s not something I’ve experienced much in the last eighteen months, except for the magnificent community of writers and bloggers online. But I’ve taken a few steps into the wide world recently, and this is a response to it, thinking about my old world.
As always, I thank KL Caley of New2Writing.com for keeping us up to scratch and fully briefed with a useful word and visual idea. Have a look at the other offerings either linked in the comments of the Thursday lunchtime prompt post, or in the round-up next Thursday.
The Community Hub
The Village Hall stood empty. The gardens around it lay dried and overgrown in the summer heat. The new playground was filled with shrieks and chatter. The old community garden lay desolate, abandoned, old self-seeded vegetables rushing to the sky to set seed another year.
Dogwalkers passed by each morning and evening, nodding to each other, sometimes stopping to chat through masks of various styles and colours. Even though the hall was shut, the community still used it. Shame that the gardens lay untended now that all the original members had moved on. Without income, there was no money for new plants, for a regular gardener, or even for watering in the drought.
So many plans had been made to open up again. So many craft fairs cancelled, exhibitions cancelled, games nights, quiz nights, coffee mornings, book club meetings… all cancelled.
The book club had gone online. The second Zoom meeting discussed a book called Zoom: From the speed of light to moving mountains — and everything in between — Zoom explores how the universe and its objects move. Michael, Jennifer and Sarah had enjoyed it, liked the way it brought them up to date with new thinking in Physics. Barbara, the organiser, agreed that they’d try something lighter next time – an Elly Griffiths, perhaps.
And now: plans to return to normal, subject to the Prime Minister’s whims and arbitrary decisions over how infectious the virus was. Not in our area. Surely we could return to something approaching normal? The village needed it. Everyone needed it. Especially the coffee mornings once more. Only Mrs Allison would be missing. One could allow her to have succumbed to her many complaints, after all, she had been 95; never moved more than four miles from the village. The coffee gang had proposed a coffee morning around her grave. It would be open air, so they could all meet up, couldn’t they?
So much uncertainty. Had it brought them together? No? Not even the clapping and the VE street party?
No. The community had continued as it always had. Just like before the hall had been built.
Maybe they needed a new normal, for anyone still working from home to join in and bring the place back to life.
Or a permanent Zoom page, open to all residents.
© J M Pett 2021