Venturing outside as lockdown in London eases has become more harrowing and anxiety filled than before as people flood the streets and pavements once again. It feels both dangerous and normalising to see so many people out and about, as though the threat has evaporated, but on some level we know it hasn’t. It’s still there, lurking in the shadows, waiting to reappear–and perhaps with a vengeance. Walking through the park and gazing upon mirrored pools of water evoke a sense of calm; feelings like serenity, peacefulness, and tranquility assuage the unease settled deep down within our nerves. If only it wasn’t temporary.

An oak tree filtering sunlight through its lace-patterned leaves. A gorgeous sight at 5AM. Most of London is asleep then. I passed a few old men walking even older dogs as I made my way to the Heath. The young rise late, if they rise at all. I used to stumble into awakeness. Now I fall. The trick is to land on your feet. Today my feet took me to watch the sunrise. All the birds were awake, singing their signature songs. Two foxes watched me pass, their human faces pinched with suspicion. I stepped over shell-less slugs and climbed the too tall hill. A bench welcomed me and my mug of coffee. Still warm. And I watched the sun rise in the distance. A woman appeared on the path behind me, singing off key. Good morning, London.

One thing lockdown has given me is the time to explore my local neighbourhood. This lovely trail is my latest discovery. Walking beneath the green canopy feels ten degrees cooler than on pavement— a perk for hot summer days. Who knew there was an enchanted forest just off Finchley Road?

London’s lockdown seems to have ended. The streets are crowded with people again, as though the threat of death no longer looms. Is it the fair Friday weather that lulls them into a false sense of security? Or is it the human condition to forget, doomed to repeat our painful histories, that pulls them out of their homes in too large crowds? Passing them on the pavement feels like playing Russian roulette, an unnecessary game with a consequence that outweighs the prize. There are too many people willing to play. Too many bullets in the gun. I’m staying inside again. I can always walk in my dreams.

Dora Maar

There’s one week left to view a lifetime of work from surrealist photographer and painter, Dora Maar, at the Tate Modern. A unique artist, overlooked for decades, it’s a definite must see. This painting of her house in Ménerbes stood out for me with the amazing color palette. Many of her more well known collages and commercial work are on display. Some of the images are reminiscent of 1950’s scifi films. Like walking through a time warp. #WomensHistoryMonth

Found in my mother’s garden, a pot of spawning cactus plants. A google search informed me they are hedgehog cactus. I’m not 100% certain that’s correct, but I love the name, so I’m sticking with it! My mother’s garden is full of surprising delights tucked away in nooks and crannies. A slow wander around with a sharp eye is an early morning treat.

Saying goodbye to a friend is a painful experience, but there are moments of beauty within grief. A cloud covered sky, raindrops on Christmas wreaths, hands held tight for support, a silent prayer. Goodbye 이모, you will be remembered.

This year I’m taking a moment to appreciate the beauty each new day brings into my life. Day one is this painting of a prickly pear cactus bush beneath a full moon (created by my talented sister). I love this painting. Here’s to finding something beautiful to love. Cheers!

My super small, eco-friendly, potted Christmas tree surrounded by bookish presents. Hopefully it will be a few inches taller next year! Focusing on the small pleasures in life to balance out the very large and harsh realities in the world. Wishing everyone a joyful holiday season filled with moments of peace.