A diary of Richmond Park and its inhabitants during lockdown times
As our social and emotional lives were turned upside down and the pandemic was advancing, many people was turning into open spaces for solace. Richmond Park a National Nature Reserve, a sanctuary for hundreds of species and since COVID-19 exploded and lockdown life with it, a breathing sanctuary for many of us.
I turned the lockdown outside to find out how the outdoors of Richmond brought refuge and sanity to lockdown lives. The impact, and changes, if any, in lifestyle it was producing to those enjoying it.
Soon after, the curiosity shifted towards me and opened the door to a blessed respite from the struggle to the repetitive sequence of days. The strangers willing to open up about their experience, were giving me solace. I meet an actor, a midwife, retired, care worker, a public relations, even a fellow photographer… for Vanessa and Millie it was a time for bonding, where Millie gets to trot around its vast landscapes and ponds and for Vanessa was a recovering from the horrors seeing at the hospital, as a health worker as she is; for John was his perfect excuse to keep his head clear while walking from Hammersmith to Richmond every day, quite a journey; for Nigel it was his gym, and he made every single square foot of the park, a few times. Bill has a bench reserved everyday with the same spectacular view, comes rain, sun, hale, snow.., he’ll be there watching over the hill, for Wayne, is his “office” to walk his client’s dogs; many more share their stories… and for me… I discovered a love and interest for nature that wasn’t that intense before. I enjoyed the day in the rain as much as the one in the sun. Colours, smells, sounds, all playing like a dance with different notes as the hours goes into a different day and the days into different weeks, like an orchestra playing different pieces balancing each other.
It was a silent therapy that highlighted the importance of nature and human relations for a healthier and thriving state of mind and ultimately it was my silver lining to this pandemic.