Wednesday, 28 Oct 2020

In Melbourne, Springtime Ushers in a New Sense of Hope

As our Covid-19 restrictions ease, the mood of the city feels like the weather.

By Besha Rodell

The Australia Letter is a weekly newsletter from our Australia bureau. This week’s issue is written by Besha Rodell, a columnist with the Australia bureau.

There are blossoms on the trees in Melbourne and days of cold rain and blustering wind, but also days of sweet-smelling breezes and warm sunshine. This has been a hard year for my hometown, which is still undergoing one of the world’s strictest and longest lockdowns because of the pandemic.

But this week, finally, I sense a new collective emotion in the city after months of resignation and sadness. As our Covid-19 case numbers steadily drop and restrictions ease ever so slightly, the mood of the city feels like the weather: unpredictable and slightly chaotic but warmer, more ebullient. It feels like hope.

Small things make a huge difference. Single people are now allowed to visit one other household, meaning my sister has again taken up her rightful place on my couch a few times a week, a comfort I won’t ever take for granted again. We are now allowed to gather outdoors in groups of two, and as a result the parks and median strips are again dotted with people sitting on blankets soaking up the sunshine. Melbourne seems to be coming back to life slowly, like the budding trees around us.

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