When I fractured my skull in late 2019 in a cycling accident, I went into an early lockdown. While life continued for so many, mine stood still, as I learnt new rhythms of selfhood. I took Julian of Norwich as my guide and I learned to sit still. With a cat and an acorn as my teachers, I sat: as the fires provoked us, as air pollution apps were downloaded and golf ball hail rained down on parliament. I was in training; training, for the eventual lockdown of COVID-19. I emerged from my restrictive neck brace into the still-restricted confines of my small (but lovely) apartment. But now I shared the experience with the world.
What I hadn’t expected is the noise, the haste, and the pounding incessant need for ‘connection’ that now surrounded me.
We all need each other: completely! We’re all in this together: 100%.
But it’s also OK to be a bit quiet sometimes – to curl up on the couch, to think, to pass idle time, to be present to the quietness within, and to all you might find there.
This animation was made, inspired by this feeling and by the words of Dan Albergotti. His poem ‘Things to do in the belly of the whale’ captured something, somewhere quiet, somewhere where Zoom cannot prompt you back to the exterior of your life, somewhere where no wifi can find you.
Because in 2020: Here we are, in the belly of the whale.
And, like Jonah, we have to wait.
Pearl Taylor is a Melbourne-based visual artist, art therapist and Uniting Church youth facilitator, invested in the ways faith forms our personal narrative. Pearl’s art practice is informed by a pinch contemplative traditions, a healthy dose of the radically-inclusive, and a touch of humour. As she dabbles in theological spaces, it is through creativity that she expresses, connects, and invites others in. She lives on Wurundjeri land.