Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Minestrone and Rollercoasters

The title of this blog post is possibly one of the most surreal to date, reminding me even as I wrote it of Dali paintings full of curves and melting objects, almost as if I imagine a pot of soup being upended onto the sweep of the theme park ride...

The photo I have chosen to illustrate this post is naturally the work of this most famous of surrealist painters. It was actually painted just before the start of the Spanish Civil War and depicts Dali's anxiety of the horror and violence to come. Which is not at all why I chose it, I was actually just looking for an example of Surrealism, but perhaps this particular work is strangely relevant in these difficult times.

Returning to the blog title, I've had a bit of an earworm today. This one however was somewhat confusing as the lyric was Life is a Rollercoaster to the tune of Life is a Minestrone. Which led me to wonder which of these is in fact true. Are they both perhaps? Or neither?

The past few days have definitely felt like a roller coaster when it comes to emotions. And alongside those there has been the accompanying adrenaline rush, not always comfortable by any means. Roller coasters often go round and round too, and you can seem to go over the same ground more than once. Again this week has felt like that and even writing these blogs I'm unsure they are actually going anywhere. Round and round over the same subject. The ups and downs, the bursts of productivity followed by hours of  inactivity. The minutes that pass unnoticed refreshing social media feeds and feeling the horror of the mounting death toll, the sadness, despair and sense of overwhelming doom.

But then the sunshine moments - family gathered on WhatsApp and competing on Popmaster. Group video calls where the shrieks of laughter draw others in the house to see what is happening. The posts about nesting birds, babies being born, children drawing rainbows to send to the Nightingale Hospital, and leaving banana flapjacks on our doorstep.

When it comes to life being a minestrone the analogy is much less clear to my mind. And I feel pretty certain the songwriters weren't expecting anyone to try and apply their lyrics to a global pandemic. Perhaps there is an element of truth however in that life is made up of a myriad of moments, ingredients if you like, some of which we adore and others which we we could quite happily live without. For some generations there will be events which are so horrific no one would ever want to live through them and this I fear is ours. When all these ingredients are brought together and seasoned with love and laughter, friendship and romance, then perhaps what emerges is in fact something beautiful (or perhaps tasty is a better choice of word - Minestrone is rarely beautiful is it?)

But in the midst of all this that feels a very long way off.

Some are already writing about how this pandemic will re-set humanity. How life can never go back to normal as it was what was normal that has caused this. There are posts online about the positives that will emerge from this, a new sense of community, reduced carbon emissions, a levelling of wealth and the end of globalisation as we knew it. But all of this comes at such a cost. And in the midst of these times, which are truly such a surreal soup of thoughts, feelings and emotions, is it okay to say that at the moment I am living from day to day in what feels like a dark tunnel and even though there may be a light at the end of it I don't have sight of that just yet.

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