Friday 8 May 2020

Chainsaw Cuts

I just loved lock-down during Alert Level 4. My bubble was pretty blissful really. No work. No pressure. No rush. No must be here and there. No ironing Coss's shirts because he works from home now and is wearing scruffy, slouchy, comfy clothes. No need to set the alarm-clock.

In fact, each morning I'd wonder if it was Monday, Saturday or Tues-whatever- you- like day?

But New Zealand moved to Alert Level 3 at the end of April and that meant back to the orchard for Bernadette. It was good to see my work-buddies again but we had to greet each-other from a respectable 2- metre distance. No hugs, slaps on the back or clip around the ears. Not even a hand-shake is permitted. Now, considering we are all great friends, this stand-offish politeness is abnormal. Weird even.

And then there was the shock to body, soul and mind, after weeks of exquisite relaxation, to be suddenly wielding a chainsaw and loppers, cutting and chopping out unwanted wood and replacing it with better canes for next season. And does this mean just reaching up and grabbing that replacement cane with one hand while texting a friend with the other? Oh no. We climb up a step-ladder and tug and fight to untangle the desired cane from the jungle over our heads, then wrestle it down and tape it to the leader wire.

It's at times like this I truly wonder, "Why, at age 62, am I dangling in the orchard canopy like a chimpanzee?" and, "What if I cut my own head off with this chainsaw?"

And then, I worry that there won't even be a funeral for me because of all the lock-down rules. Would the boss just chuck my corpse into one of the many rabbit-holes here on the orchard and my work-buddies go straight to the Smoko-room fridge and plunder my Tim-Tam cookies?

I digress. Getting back to all the chopping and cutting, I can honestly say that the result of our slog is satisfying. It's the buzz we all get when we take chaos and bring about order. In this case I know that a better kiwifruit crop will come because of the rubbish we cut out and the good wood we put into place.

Actually, many of us have discovered a similar process at work in ourselves during this whole Covid-19 pandemic. Lock-down descended as abruptly as a chainsaw on almost every aspect of our lives cutting out so much unwanted crap.

CHOP CHOP to hurry, hassle and haste, commuting and flying, buying and waste.

And what good did we tie more firmly in place?

Well, all sorts of things like that chat at the mailbox with a neighbour we seldom see. A new recipe tried out. A good book that got us thinking. Walks through crispy Autumn leaves. Appreciating our friends and family more. Letting go of petty grievances and shaking the cosmos flowers to collect seeds for next year.

Yes, I do know that Covid-19 has brought about blessings but has also been a cruel chainsaw to many people all over the world, wrecking their security and wounding them with anxiety, loneliness, unemployment and financial ruin.

My hope and prayer is that good will come out of bad for all of us, that we re-think our priorities and oh please, may our government choose wisdom over panic and long-term benefit for the planet and its people over short-term blunder.

Over and out to work!

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