In my local park last week I noticed fresh white lines. The grass had been cut for the first time in a very long time, and a football pitch had been diligently painted out.
I walked round the edges of it at least twice, careful not to spoil the pristine white. It was smaller than full-size, clearly for younger players. Or maybe those whose professional playing hopes are best quietly put away. I chased my dog from within the sacred space when it looked like he might scuff the D. It was, very much, a moment.
The return of some competitive outdoor amateur sports as a measure of lockdown easing is like a deep breath drawn after a long time in a dusty, windowless room.
We attach incredible weight just now to the joyfully banal. The thought of doing the ordinary is extraordinary – conversations increasingly begin with “I can’t wait until…”
And everybody is getting really fed up with walking around the same circuit again and again.
The ongoing debate about the necessity of vaccine passports to open life up again is both a mark of the vaccine rollout success, and a concern about the future. We’ve been down the lockdown easing road before, but it didn’t take. We want to know that vaccines will return life.