I have to admit - I'm becoming very tired of the restrictions and the ongoing panic. Can one be "over" panic? I certainly am. The mainstream news media, fueled by patrons with one set of opinions, continues to hype the importance of lock downs, social distancing, and mask wearing. But the more information I see and the more research I've done, the more I think these three measures have done a terrible amount of harm to the world. Lock downs have stripped people of human rights, healthy hobbies, jobs, and crucial family and friend get togethers that bolster mental health and make life sweet. The despair at times through the year has seemed overwhelming. Social distancing seems to me to have bred mistrust between people and put emotional distance between fellow human beings. (And who would have thought politicians would one day legislate against hugs? And hand shakes?) It depends who you ask about masks, but there is a reasonable amount of research that suggests mask wearing does not work. There is good scientific evidence that mask wearing makes the sick sicker (imagine wearing a dirty handkerchief over your face all day when you've got a bad flu, and you get the picture). And, at the risk of stating the obvious, mask wearing inhibits communication with other people and takes away hugely important parts of human interactions (facial expressions and of course smiles, which everyone needs after a year like this). The WHO recently said that lock downs do not work, and we've seen in America even in states that have religiously locked down that the virus has still spread. I'm not saying I have any solutions to the problem of Covid. But I do wish that the authorities in question would actually value quality of life as much as continued existence. Covid restrictions have taken away some things from us that are priceless. Life is not simply existence at any cost. Life involves far more than that, and truly living involves thriving. I think thriving has been difficult to do this year.
All this said, I don't want to be political here. I'm merely expressing my feelings on the matter. I'm sure I'm not the only one fed up at times. I'm sure there will be people who disagree with the above as well, and you are most entitled to do so. Freedom of opinion and speech is important.
Despite the pandemic related issues, I have continued singing and writing over the past month, and have enjoyed teaching my students again. The weather has started to sizzle here, and swimming is a must when it can be done. We have taken Holly out to swim, and she has also been kayaking with us on the Weir. We've seen some interesting wildlife recently. It's been my first time seeing large numbers of locusts. They seem to have moved on from our town now. I went over to the other side of town to photograph the bat colony that has unfortunately taken up residence in one person's backyard. As my camera was clicking, the lady who owned the property came out to speak with me. Internally, I was panicking as I thought I was about to get into trouble. But she told me: "Come in, please. You'll get much better pictures in my backyard."
So I came with her under a large umbrella (the umbrella is an important poop and urine shield when one lives with a colony of bats) and took some photographs in her backyard. She explained to me what it was like living with a bat colony, and I was amazed at her endurance. At one point, the squealing of hundreds of bats was deafening, and we had to yell to hear each other. The bats frequently argue over which branch they're roosting on, and of course, some noises in a residential area will set them off and distress them. When I saw what this lady was living through, I contacted the ABC about it and suggested they do a story on it, hoping this would enable her to get some support so that she can move the bats on. The story spread nationally, and some of my photographs made it into the article.
It was fascinating seeing the comments on Facebook. Those who commented on ABC Southern Queensland's link were mainly sympathetic, many of them being country folk who understood the reality of bat colonies. Those who commented on the national link were mainly city people, who didn't seem to understand the situation as well. I would agree that we should take care of our native animals. I wouldn't agree that just because a large and destructive colony has settled in this woman's backyard that she should pack up and go to a rest home (as some unkindly suggested)! Anyway, the bats are a continued saga in Chinchilla. While they seem endangered in cities near the coast, out in regional towns their numbers swell. It is safe to say there are often more bats in Chinchilla and surrounds than there are people.
I have heard from my publisher that my first six books will be available through Brimstone Fiction by the end of the month. Within five months from this, according to our contract, the last two books in the series will be published. And then The Fledgling Account will be complete. It seems crazy to have an end date for such a large series, but there it is. We're nearly there.
In the meantime, I wish whoever is reading this well. Stay well, try to enjoy life, and don't fall prey to the fear associated with this pandemic. This too will pass (and soon, I sincerely hope).