Week 9 of lockdown is moving into week 10 tomorrow. This week was tough.
In a way, I was lucky, realisation of this, our new reality, crept in four/five weeks late. So I’m a month or so behind. Reason being, I was kept quite busy experimenting with different platforms (i.e. Zoom, Google Hangout which is now Google Meet, Skype, Google Classroom, Edmodo…), exchanging information with fellow tutors, and thinking up new activities to keep learners, especially those in larger group settings, motivated and engaged during our weekly 90-minutes session.
Now that all is working more or less smoothly (I mean, realistically, there’ll probably always be some sort of technical hiccup to deal with, albeit occasionally), I’m in the process of getting used to what will be my new routine. My new routine, until, I believe the autumn. And I like it. Even though I need people, real people around me, rather than just faces on screens, because I enjoy feeling energy of people, of students, family, friends and different places, I do enjoy the tranquility and peace (no more long commutes!) this new life has brought, and believe that everything is going to be alright in the end 🙂
But now let me tell you about “Rainbow Boy.
I spotted the beautiful image sometime in April, on a fence not far from where I live, whilst on my daily one-allowed-exercise-per-day walk. From one early evening to the next, Rainbow Boy had appeared, just like that. I was incredibly excited. My face lit up and my heart raced the way it hadn’t for some time. I kept saying, Oh my god, this is a Banksy! A Banksy! We have a Banksy in Beckenham! Since then I’ve spotted three more Rainbow Boys on my walks around the neighbourhood and realised that it was not a Banksy.
When I actually googled Rainbow Boy, I discovered it to be the work of Croydon artist Chris Shea. Chris said, “During these unprecedented times I’m aiming to lift peoples spirits with my artwork. My work is my passion and a lot of my inspiration comes from watching my son grow, taking those moments and turning them into art that everyone can relate to. The rainbow boy that I am painting on garages, houses and buildings stemmed from a photograph of my son watering our plants in the garden. I then saw the local children painting rainbows to thank the NHS for all their hard work. This gave me a feeling that there is hope in youth and it should be watered like a plant.”
I then remembered the poem by Derek Mahon, “Everything is Going to be All Right”, and thought it a perfect match for Rainbow Boy.
Everything is Going to be All Right
How should I not be glad to contemplate
the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window
and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?
There will be dying, there will be dying,
but there is no need to go into that.
The poems flow from the hand unbidden
and the hidden source is the watchful heart.
The sun rises in spite of everything
and the far cities are beautiful and bright.
I lie here in a riot of sunlight
watching the day break and the clouds flying.
Everything is going to be all right.