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Clear waters, blue skies and jumping dogs - beacons in our search for light and hope


Amid the gloom and apocalyptic fears, there are still reasons to be happy. MICHAEL BLUCHER found them in the most unexpected of places

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“Write something positive. We know that this virus is serious, but how long is anybody going to last, reading about doom and gloom”.

The “questruction” – half question, half instruction,  came from the nurse who’d been preparing me for my minor surgery, while The Doc (capital letters for him) attended to far more pressing matters.

We’d been small talking, but as can happen in these unprecedented times, the small talk quickly become big talk. About you know what.

Julie was clearly determined to keep her side of the conversation up beat. That’s what I love about nurses. Always upbeat, optimistic.  Like taxi drivers, they love a chat, but unlike a lot of taxi drivers, they come from a place of kindness and compassion. Taxi drivers are just experts. In pretty much everything.

“Ok,” I said. “Let’s go around the ward, and get one positive from every single person.“

And so it started – the search for light and hope.   

“I was skype-ing my cousin in Venice last night, and he said the water in the canals is clearer than it’s ever been. Crystal clear blue instead of brown.“

Good start.

“No planes in the air. Fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Great for the atmosphere.“

Excellent. For the benefit of our Greenie audience, we’ll  put that down as a double plus.

“Lower petrol prices. Traffic a bit lighter. More time at home with the family.”

Yes, yes, and yes.

‘What about people being forced to find new solutions to age old problems?”

Now that’s a beauty. Lots of serious short term pain at the moment, but perhaps some long term gain?

Andrew, the anaesthesia bloke, piped up. “I live on the Gold Coast, and I understand the drug lords have temporarily stopped warring.”

Ok. Not quite what we were looking for but we’ll put on the “reserve list”. Thanks Andrew.

For Dave, it was the prospect of NRL players having to take a pay cut. “Might keep ‘em out of the nightclubs.”

Again. not quite the right…….” Bugger it. We’ll add it to the list.

In a quiet moment, as the surgeon hacked away with his scalpel, my mind drifted involuntarily to the widespread cancellation of school sport.

Rather selfishly I added that to my own list. Nothing to do with the poor deprived kids – the upside was in not having to put up with all the nutter parents, who in my humble view, care way, way too much about the results. And the team selections. And the end of season awards.

But that’s a whole different can of germs. A discussion for another day.

For two hours, everybody who entered the theatre was asked to nominate an upside of this bloody virus.

The positive for Andrea – not getting a daily update of what was going on with citizen Harry and citizen Meghan. Hard to argue with that.

For Devon , it was “all the funny shit” that people were posting on social media.

All of a sudden three or four people were talking at once.

“Oh yeah – like the bloke on his balcony in isolation, gulping up cars with his Kermit glove! Have you seen that?


“It’s hilarious. I’ll send you the link.

“Have you seen the one of the dog, jumping into the pile of leaves?  The owner posted it just to make us all feel better. It’s classic.”

“What about the American bloke who’s converted the “My Sharona” song into “My Corona”? So bloody funny.  It’s already got like a billon views.”

The mood changed, as the discussion of “stupid shit on social media” continued.

A moment later, a new face, Amelia, entered the fold and asked what we were talking about.

“The positives of the Corona virus,” another of the theatre nurses  explained.

“Well all I’d say, is you find what you go looking for,” she said.  “You want doom and gloom, you’re gunna find it.

“I only worry about the stuff that I can influence. The rest of it’s just wasted energy. You’ll send yourself batty.

“Besides.. nothing stays the same forever. It’ll turn around.”

And with that, off she went, to attend to her next duty of care. Perhaps unblock another emotional drain pipe.

It was Amelia’s parting salvo that resonated the most.

Nothing stays the same…

How true it that? Everyday, there’s something different. Sometimes it’s worse. But our worlds are never static.

Gradually, things turn around. New light appears. There’s a breakthrough, or a realisation. It might come from a phone call, or a chance meeting.  Perhaps a single kind gesture that puts us in a better frame of mind.

And suddenly, the mojo reappears. We’re back on track. Willing to fight aother day.

As my old mate Phil used say.  “Life’s a bit like water-skiing. The one thing you can’t do is stop. You’ve got to hang onto that  rope for dear life and pull yourself up.”

Thanks again for the chat, people. And go Phil.

The surgery, by the way was a success. On the way out the hospital door, I added that to my list.

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