The first long, warm evening of the year, we sleep with windows ajar. Drifting into sleep, we are minded that the summer Solstice will soon be upon us and so we will begin the slow descent into the darkness once more.
Midnight, the port springs back to life. The new normal easing in with the hollow clunk, thud, clunk, thud of cargo dropping into holds.
The voices of crane drivers carried on the wind drift into our bedroom through the open window. It’s a small settlement, we know the voices and the men, we know their children and their grandchildren. Past days they would have stopped to pass the time of day or waved as they walked or cycled to the port.
These days we keep our distance: a brief wave, a nod, a smile perhaps, but fearful and fleeting lest the invisible invader is passed between us – and we are friends and neighbours no more.
The sounds of work and new beginnings bring the fat rabbits from their burrows. Fearful, they gather amidst the shrubbery of the perimeter fence in anticipation of what the new normal will bring. The neighbourhood cats watch and wait.