It is strange to look out from my windows and realise that I can only see a tiny fraction of the world. Yet this is what I can now get to know so closely. It’s pretty much the same everyday, and yet I can start noticing small changes, little differences and previously unnoticed details. During this lock down I have become more curious about the same. And suddenly that small world becomes bigger, more interesting, more intriguing by the day. There is more depth to it, there is so much more beyond its usual appearance. There is so much more to see, there is so much more to explore, there is so much more to be grateful for. There is a much bigger world out there, there is the planet, the universe I can now feel more connected to. One shared Humanity. Strangely I needed the pandemic to feel this way.
I love my conservatory. It’s a big window looking out to the world of Woodingdean, a lovely part of Brighton, East Sussex, with wonderful sea views, green pastures, the gently curved Downs, the Happy Valley Park and the Memorial Ground, its beautiful gardens and woodlands.
I am surrounded by cacti of all sorts in my conservatory. They are very happy and jolly anytime, in any weather. I love them all in all their varieties. They are pretty undemanding but always prickly so they need to be managed with care, a bit like me. I check on them every day, I got to know them well. Their ungenerous flowers make them more precious and beautiful.
Five years of looking out of my conservatory has been like getting to know the richness of life in this small corner of the world. The seagulls sit on our roof before flying over the green edge and landing on other roofs in the valley. There are so many other birds which sing along, fly from one tree to another, respond to each other in a perfectly harmonious orchestra performance.
I have started to enjoy watching the clouds running fast across the sky and not expecting a sunny day, watching powerless and mesmerised by the powerful high winds blowing, bending the trees and not expecting to stop overnight. The windmill farm on the distance are now a familiar site.
The stars at night seem a familiar scene, the same stars that I have often watched in Italy when I was a child. It reminds me that the world can be small and big at the same time.
My conservatory makes me feel grateful and open to the much bigger world beyond this edge, beyond the clouds, beyond these birds and hills around here.
More than ever I need to feel connected to the whole world, connected to the planet and our shared humanity.