During our Melbourne lockdown, 2020, we were each allocated one hour of exercise per day. I drove to the local car park, which overlooks an oval surrounded by trees, and beyond that, a river. There I would just sit before my walk.
This was a most splendid moment for me. It was winter, so I took my friend Chery’s home-made blanket with me and snuggled in. Out came my laptop with some handwritten notes to be typed up, and often a book to buoy the spirits and for inspiration. (More of that in another blog.) The books, the papers, and the laptop all fought with the coffee cup for position on my knees, which – as I was too lazy to swap to the passenger seat – were scrunched up behind the steering wheel. But I was content.
Lockdown might suit writers. We should be careful to say so because so many people are disadvantaged by the pandemic. However the restrictions allow us time and peace for thinking and dreaming – and space for the birds. One cheeky mynah bird tapped on the hood of my car. ‘We’ve got you now,’ it seemed to say. ‘This place belongs to us now.’ I was happy to be ‘got’. Sometimes a kookaburra would call its song from a distant branch, and I counted myself among the luckiest of these creatures.
Our city is out of lockdown – for now. The cafes are slowly opening up. I might even find one where staff won’t mind me scribbling away, or taking up room at a table. But I’ll miss the sanctity of the car park in winter. Some places are just hallowed. Certain events in life can bring us peace.
3 thoughts on “The Car Park”
I really like the picture of you huddled in your car, Margaret. So self-contained. Who needs a desk. This is making me long for winter.
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That sounds like a cosy time in your car. I wish I could have more winter days, as someone who lives in a tropical country. And yes, the writing muscles always flex the most during moments of stillness. Thanks for sharing!
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I too love the car Margaret. We used to grab our coffee and go and park in front of the children’s playground during lockdown. A time to pause and reflect. A pastry would seal the deal. Sometimes I want to stay in the car when I get home. It’s warm and I feel as if I’m sealed off from the rest of the world. It makes me want to doze off.
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