Community Networks

When I think of networks, I think of communities. And after more than eighteen months of COVID nothing has become more visible to me than the importance of my local community.

We moved in the middle of the pandemic. Our move date was scheduled exactly five days after the prime minister announced the country would be going into lockdown. In the emotional turmoil of those first few weeks of virus reports in the media, the thought of uprooting ourselves from the comfort of our home left me with a sense of unease. It was a time where everyone was closing their doors, cocooning themselves inside, scared of getting sick from contact with others. The familiar sight of my local park and the coffee shop on the corner provided a sense of security and so it was with apprehension that we stuffed our belongings into carboard boxes piled high and ventured into our new suburb.

It soon became evident that we had nothing to worry about. We could sense the curiosity of our neighbours as we pulled up outside our new house in a large removal truck. Within the first few days a neighbour brought round some freshly baked choc chip cookies. We discovered the street had its own WhatsApp group to which we were invited, and upon joining found messages offering help and support to those who were elderly and couldn’t get to the shops.

People linking wrists together in a circle

I have been overwhelmed by the closeness of my new community and our acceptance as newcomers – and surprised considering it’s a busy inner city suburb. Reflecting on my community has made me realise how important connections with others are in our lives, however fleeting. We are social beings and in times of physical distancing I found a new appreciation for what being connected to others means.

What comes to mind when you think of networks? We want to hear your thoughts and ideas in the form of essay, prose, poetry or artwork for the 2021 anthology. You can submit here.