A flower a day to keep COVID away

May 16th, 2022
A flower a day to keep COVID away

The pandemic rattled me. As an emerging writer I have an active imagination and in the absence of an avalanche of reputable data, I succumbed to fearing the unknown. Years of squeezing onto peak-hour trains to and from Glenhuntly Station, pulling my scarf over my nose and mouth, came flooding back. I called precious family in Melbourne to ask if they’d like to come to Gippsland for an extended visit extolling the virtues of fresh air, more space between human beings, less lockdowns, but they were stoic. I love Melbournians. I imagined a run on the banks and withdrew five thousand hard-earned dollars in cash to hide under the mattress, just in case. I was not comforted at all when the teller said the bank was running short of money that day because many people had made similar withdrawals. In March 2020, I took a photograph of a neighbour’s Crepe Myrtle and posted it on my Facebook page with a few words about the beauty of the flower and my ambition to post ‘a flower a day to keep COVID away’ from my family and friends.

Seven hundred or so days later I still post a flower every day to my Facebook page. I have a small group of friends who react and/or comment each day and have done every day for more than seven hundred days! For the most part, I find the flowers, point & shot their image, and post the pictures with a few words about the joy flowers bring. I developed some ‘rules’ as the COVID days turned into months: Never trespass on private property even if the best blooms are inside the fence. Try to answer any questions about the flowers and I’ve become quite knowledgeable, relying on apps and other tools to guide me. Some folks use the Comments section to share flowers from their gardens or from walks they’ve been on. If I post a picture of a flower taken by another, I always acknowledge the photographer or contributor and thank them for sharing. Sharing on social media can take courage. As life’s events have occurred, I have dedicated a flower in their honour or to acknowledge an achievement. A favourite cousin, Annabelle, died recently and her husband was surprised to see me at her funeral and oblivious to the rich relationship we’d shared on Facebook and Messenger due largely to our love of flowers. If someone who regularly reacts or comments on my flower posts goes quiet, I send the flower by Messenger with a query about how life is treating them.
So far, touch wood, I have not contracted COVID in any of its variants; I wish the same could be said for my Facebook family and friends. I’ve reviewed the number of new infections and deaths in Australia attributed to the virus and despair that 2022 has dwarfed both 2021 and 2020 by a landslide – it seems our plans and our leaders have been found wanting, and our confidence in both has plummeted. With horror I hear how only the vulnerable die – the frail, the young, the unvaccinated, those with pre-existing conditions, and wonder if we’ve lost our compassion. Too much “me” and not enough “we”, I put it down to. And I swear I’ll scream if one more person tells me it’s just like the flu.

I feel powerless to make any difference at a macro level and so I continue to share a flower a day on my Facebook page, accompanied by a few descriptive words or a cheerful phrase to comfort myself and those who want to draw comfort from flowers. You see, the flowers have come to represent hope and a fierce desire never to give up!