People’s Choice Winner 2021
In the absence of human-to-human contact during COVID Lockdowns, animals stepped in to fill the void for many people by easing loneliness, providing a sense of connection, motivation and routine. Stepping up to become office and classroom buddies that made us laugh during endless zoom meetings, and someone to cuddle and touch when the days weren’t so good. It highlighted the role our pets play in providing a buffer from stress, and a sense of companionship and self-worth.
Our community was devastated by the Black Saturday fires in 2009. We lost neighbours, our memories, our sanctuaries. Some stayed, some could not. I did not want COVID to leave more bitter memories for our local families. I wanted to capture life in an exceptional time: how we managed and coped, how we filled our days, the things that gave us joy.
What started as a “Driveway Project” became a way to connect the community and appreciate how blessed we are to live regionally surrounded by trees and paddocks with room to move and breathe.
The stories included the stress felt by our front-line workers, the challenges of home schooling across varying year levels, needs and learning abilities and the complexities of remote workplaces.
But mostly, they centred around how we innovated, reconnected and reset. We suddenly grew more time to engage in hobbies, garden and declutter, taught children and families to play together and explore outdoors and discovered what was important – and maybe what no longer was.
Along the way I was introduced to furry companions large and small, we laughed, played, and talked about the joy they bring to our lives.
For this I am grateful. It gave me connection and purpose. It is how I managed life in lockdown.