Editor's Letter: Hermitude

Editor's Letter: Hermitude

It’s been a funny few weeks hasn’t it? The bubble closed after Covid got out of control in Sydney, followed by another lockdown in Melbourne and suddenly, the little raft-up between the two countries was over, and we were alone again, floating on a sea of MIQ and closed borders. People rushed to get home; some got stuck. 

The vaccine is rolling out more slowly than it was expected, there are flare-ups in places we thought had got on top of things, and while the vaccine is crucial to saving lives, it's not going to miraculously return us back to our old lives. It feels like tempers are starting to fray.

Personally, as I've said before, I quite enjoy the hermitude, and I think we should all be grateful that life here has been relatively normal... But we all have friends and family in other countries we haven't seen now in 18 months or even two years. And that's tough. 

The blithe way we came to accept the ease of international travel seems a distant memory: according to one story I read the other day, Covid might be front of mind for up to five years – even as the country cautiously opens up next year, there will be a constantly changing set of rules and restrictions. 

It’s less a flu season, more a kind of war and as another writer put it, globalisation as we know it may well be over, at least for a while. The world has tilted on its axis, and it's not going back any time soon. 

So maybe it's not surprising that as we came to put the issue together, I realised almost all the houses had something vaguely spirited about them – a touch of the chapel here, and the wharenui there. Volumes that rise above you but make you feel safe at the same time.

I’ve always thought there was a similarity between design and religion – it’s the same search for an all-encompassing answer, a desire for certainty… And a need for calm. 

I don’t mean to say they’re religious, and nor are their owners – or me – but they do offer a sense of comfort in a period of ongoing uncertainty where the ground seems to shift constantly beneath your feet. 

I think we all need a bit of that right now, and I hope you enjoy them.

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