Woo-hoo! Today is the first day of phase 2 in Italy – meaning that the lockdown is being slowly, gradually, cautiously lifted. We are finally allowed to leave our house to go for a solitary walk and to visit our family members.
Up until this point, I had only left the house 3 times in 56 days – twice to walk into town to get money out of the cash point and once to the supermarket. Each of those times felt strange, scary and unfriendly.
But today was a bit different and while it’s not a festive atmosphere and life is not even close to going back to normal, it did feel a little bit lighter on the island. We are a little bit more free.
This morning, I took the longest walk in months. Right before the shut down, I was just started to get back to my pre-surgery self and was able to walk back and forth from town without stopping, but I hadn’t tried to do anything longer than 40 minutes. But today, I walked for an hour and a half without even thinking about whether I physically could do it or not. But I did, I was able to do it!
Here are some pics of my walk around Forio this morning. Instead of walking along the beach road, I took another road to go up the hill and into Monterone and down into Forio center and then back home along the beach road. I was afraid that the roads would be too crowded with people and that I would have to walk back, but it was okay.
There were people out, but everyone kept their distance and wore masks. On a normal walk, I would pass by people and say hello, but this time it was hard to recognize one another. I made eye contact with some people, but we couldn’t see each other smile. We’ll need to learn how to say more with our eyes.
But o, it was so beautiful. The sky was so blue and there was this warm May sunlight and the sea – I could stop and look at the sea. There were glimpses of our old normal life – sounds of hammering and sawing behind the closed doors of restaurants and hotels as they cross their fingers and get ready to open next month, people standing outside the hardware stores waiting their turn to go inside, people waving to one another as they walked by, the rumble of cars and scooters as they start moving again around the island.
And now it’s the late afternoon after lunch and family members are visiting the neighbours all around me and there are voices again and laughter and children playing. I’m almost not used to it and my head keeps lifting up to look around me as I hear people shouting and laughing.
It’ll take a long time before we’ll recognise our old lives again. The number of COVID-19 cases are declining, which is good news, but we have to still be very careful. In the meantime, I’m going to keep recognising the things that I am grateful for. I am especially grateful that I can go for walks again.