There’s no better place to hide away from the big wide world than a cave.
I think it must be an instinct inherited from generation upon generation of ancient ancestors.
Human beings that found shelter in hidden crevices on the side of hills and mountains. Places where they could light a fire in peace and gaze out over the open plains, before drifting off to sleep knowing they were safe and protected.
I’ll never understand what it was like to live like that, as running water, electricity and white-washed walls do make rather a big difference. But I can understand the comfort of a warm, dry cave, and fear of what might be lurking outside.
Over the last three weeks of lockdown here in Spain, whenever I’m out in the garden I find myself keeping a sharp eye on the city below and the horizon beyond. Which is odd, because I know the danger’s invisible, not in the shape of packs of wolves or warring tribes.
But inside the cave, it’s easy to forget about everything going on down on the plains. I feel like I’m protected by Mother Earth herself.
As long as I allow myself long breaks from the news, I’m lucky enough to be able to curl up in our cave cocoon and take mental holidays from the impossible-to-process situation we’ve all found ourselves in.
And outside, despite the great unknown beyond, the garden is reassuring in its complete lack of interest in what’s going on.
Life is getting on with things. Spring is springing.
The cherry blossom came out and fell away, and now hard green cherries are forming in its place. The rain finally arrived, and there are wildflowers popping up on the slope above the cave.
Roses are unfurling and weeds springing up overnight. The first hint of what will be pomegranates are appearing on our tiny pomegranate tree. Daisies are emerging. Buds are transforming into leaves.
And our two foster rescue puppies are just as oblivious as the flowers. For them, at just three months, it’s entirely normal to have both of us at home, in our studio space, 24 hours a day.
They don’t know any other version of reality, and they’re busy growing, playing, biting, learning and generally keeping us on our toes. For them, life consists of endless days of spring sunshine and constant love.
The cave is the perfect place to hide away, but when I poke my nose outside the garden and the puppies are both reminders that life goes on.
Humanity might have practically ground to a halt, but the world hasn’t.
It’ll keep turning, the seasons will keep changing, and there’s still so much beauty out there, even if we can’t get out and see it for ourselves.
I hope you’re feeling safe and cocooned, wherever you are.