It was early 2020

People had been through a long dark winter

February had been a horrible month with storms and lots of rain

Nature was restless, as if it wanted to tell people something, warn them...

And then March started....


It was March 2020

All of a sudden people all over the world stopped going outside

Countries were locked down, people couldn’t believe that this was happening – it was so surreal!

The streets were empty, most of the shops were closed and most cars were parked along the side of the road...

Everyone knew what was going on


But spring didn’t know

And flowers continued to bloom

And the sun was shining

The first beautiful spring day arrived

And the swallows returned

And the sky turned orange and blue

It got dark later and light earlier


It was March 2020

Young people studied online, at home

Children inevitably continued playing, mainly inside

Teenagers were bored, parents didn’t know what to do

People only ventured out briefly to walk the dog or get groceries

Nearly everywhere was closed, even offices, hotels, restaurants and bars

People had to work from home

Employers got into financial difficulty

Most children couldn’t go to school anymore

All of a sudden there wasn’t enough room for people in hospitals,

Operations and examinations were postponed

Everybody knew.


But spring didn’t know and sprung

Unperturbed, she stuck to her annual routine

She gifted us her most beautiful flowers and scents

It was March 2020


Everybody was quarantined at home, for health reasons or just to be safe

Some people weren’t allowed to work anymore, others had to

Hugs, kisses and handshakes turned into threats

People needed to keep their distance, which was horrible

In the supermarkets there were lots of empty shelves

Many fun events were cancelled and nobody knew how long for

People’s freedom was being restricted even though it was peacetime

Across the world people fell ill and it was contagious...

There was isolation, disease and panic.

That’s when the fear really hit!!


All of the days looked the same

And the weeks seemed to stretch out endlessly

Everybody hoped the measures wouldn’t get even stricter

People were stuck in a film, waiting every day for the hero to arrive

The world had slowed down and it wasn’t even a holiday

Nobody had expected this ...

Everybody knew what was going on...


But spring didn’t know and the roses kept blooming

Magnolia buds were opening

And birds started building their nests

The air quality was improving


And then ...

The joys of cooking and eating together were re-discovered

People shared ideas about nice things to do with their children

There was time to write and read

People used their imagination and boredom turned into creativity

Some learned a new language

Some discovered a love of art

Some realised they hadn’t really been living their lives and rediscovered their true selves

From one day to the next, people suddenly had more time for their families

Others left their unhappy relationships in search of true love

People offered to shop or cook for vulnerable people

Everybody knew what a ‘key worker’ was

These people were heroes and appreciated more than ever before

Others sang or made music together online to be with others

People recognised loneliness and discovered things to combat it

People recovered from their stressful lives

People started talking to strangers

Some put their telephone numbers on paper aeroplanes so lonely people could phone them

Government support saved companies and stopped them having to fire staff

Retired care workers offered to return to their jobs

Volunteers appeared from everywhere – everybody wanted to help

At 8 pm people spontaneously applauded the doctors, nurses and carers who were working so hard to save everybody


2020 became the year in which people rediscovered the importance of health and connection

Of togetherness, social contact and maybe even their calling

Something was happening to our collective consciousness – it touched everybody

The economy nearly ground to a halt, but didn’t collapse and re-invented itself

It was the year the world seemed to stop

The year we would make history together......We all knew that


But spring didn’t know

And the rivers were getting cleaner

And the trees got leaves

And the flower bulbs erupted

And the days got warmer

And lots of birds returned


And then salvation came

People watched TV and the prime minster told everyone the emergency had passed

And that the Virus had lost!

That we had won TOGETHER!!!

And then everybody went outside

With tears in their eyes

Without masks or gloves

Neighbours were hugged close like family

And the world had become a more loving and caring place

And the people had become more humane

Having regained their values

They had opened their hearts again which had a positive effect

Because everything had stopped, the Earth could breathe again

Nature had recovered from what people had inflicted on her for so long


And then the summer came

Because spring didn’t know

And it was still there

Despite everything

Despite the virus

Despite the fear

Despite the death


Because spring didn’t know, everybody learned the meaning of life


“Inspired by Irene Vella – it was 11 March 2020”

Written by Susan Blanco about the situation in The Netherlands (De Taalrecycler)


Translated bij Peter Pas


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