Look, says the Owner, how Quiet it is on the Heath.
It is not quiet back where we parked, I say. That man was either Playing the Bagpipes or Murdering a Piglet. I am not sure which.
That, says the Owner, is the joy of Learning the Bagpipes. But I was not referring to Quiet in the sense of Flower of Scotland.
Was that what it was? I ask.
On Balance of Probability, says the Owner, it usually is. But I was referring to the Quiet of the Space between the People on the Heath.
It seems to me, I say, that Everyone has come outside. There are Hundreds of People in the Park. Surely this means that, as the Health Secretary Claims, they are Being Selfish.
On the Contrary, says the Owner, they are being Amazing. We are in Inner London, in Camden. Camden has more green space than most, but it still has more than 1200 people per square kilometer. If each person comes outside for just an hour between 9am and 5pm, as the Government recommended for the sake of their Physical and Mental Health, that is 150 people on each square kilometer in any hour. But many of those square kilometers are taken up by road and buildings where the public cannot roam. The public parks of Camden which remain open comprise less than a fifth of that, which means 750 people must occupy each per square kilometer in any hour. That is a lot of people. Yet everyone is Spaced. Everyone is Calm. Everyone is Playing their Part.
But the Health Secretary says if people keep visiting Parks in Such Numbers in this Selfish Way it will be their Own Fault that they are Locked Down, I say. Do you not see People Sitting, People Sunbathing, People Standing Still and People arriving by Car? I say. Is this not a Park full of Selfish People?
The Government may wish to attempt the Advance Apportionment of Blame for its likely next move in its Disastrous Handling of this crisis, says the Owner, but if we have to be Shut In it will not be because People did not Obey the Guidance, although it may be because the Guidance was issued Too Late. Not everyone lives next to the Parks, so some must drive. Not everyone can walk non-stop, so some must sit. Not everyone can walk at all, so some lie in the sun. So before we imagine that what we see is Selfish we must Stand Back and Look at what we Do Not See. Look at the People spread across the Heath. Look at the Space between them. Look at the care they are taking. Look at the Rubbish they are Not Dropping. Look at the Picnics they are Not Eating. Look at the Fights they are Not Having. I think it is actually a Miracle.
I look around the Park at the Amazing People. Now that the Owner has pointed it out I realise that they are all Spaced far apart. I realise that there is no rubbish to be seen, that nobody is shouting, that people are smiling and nodding and exchanging Pleasantries from Afar. I thought Miracles would be More Obvious, I say. At least a Drum Roll or some kind of a Flash, I say. There is not even anybody Walking on the Lake.
Miracles are usually found where you least expect them, says the Owner. Look at the Heath, on this beautiful Easter Morning, and Never Forget It. We are looking at Possibly the Greatest Act of Human Solidarity you and I will Ever See. Look at these Amazing People, thousands of People working together to help each other Stay Safe. There is nothing the Health Secretary can say that will convince me that these people are being Selfish. There is nothing that he can say that will convince me that they are not doing their Absolute Best. They are being Human, and Careful, and Decent, and Fair. They are Following the Guidance and doing their best to stay Safe, Strong and Healthy. They should be Celebrated. They should be Thanked. I would like to Hug them All, every single one.
You won’t though, will you? I say, given the Circumstances, I say.
No, says the Owner, I won’t.
The Moral Dog. Protecting the People of the Park against my Weirdy Owner for an hour every day.
Hergest the Hound
I am a dog of many thoughts.