I hope this blog finds you well.
As a photographer, I am conditioned to look at scenes, whether it’s nature, people or still life from different perspectives or angles. Mostly, for me, it’s to compose a photograph so it’s pleasing to the eye. However, today, perspective takes on an entirely different meaning, at least for me.
With our new phrase for 2020, social distancing, life in NJ, and all across the world, has become very unfamiliar. We can no longer gather in crowds, we cannot go out past 8:00 pm, we can no longer do many of the things that were once “normal”. I’m not sure if life will return to a state of normal as we knew it, I do believe there will be a new normal. People are trying to be optimistic by saying, this virus will make life slow down. Life will become what it once was before all of the technology we use today was in use. I don’t feel or believe that to be true. The fact that we are not able to live our lives as we usually do, doesn’t mean we will rely less on technology. We are relying more on technology than we did prior to the implementation of the “stay in home” order implemented on Saturday, March 21st at 9:00 pm (in NJ). What choice do we all have? If you want to stay in contact with friends and family, you must engage with them virtually. To further emphasize this new virtual world we find ourselves living in, I attended a funeral (sadly) via Zoom last week. Zoom is an App that hosts virtual meetings, many people are now participating in virtual happy hour on Friday afternoons. Anything, to stay sane and keep some sort of normalcy, for lack of a better word, in or lives.
Given this temporary new world we find ourselves living in, I wanted to share some photographs of a local attraction. The Village Green in Smithville, is normally bustling with people. Often times I would visit during the off hours, just for the quiet and lack of people so I could photograph in peace. However, yesterday when my husband and I went for a walk, to get out of the house (which, lately feels like anything but a sanctuary), we were both faced with the eery feeling of complete desolation. There is a breakfast place which is normally so crowded, standing completely buttoned up and empty. All of the shoppes were closed up in an odd way, as though, they are gone and forgotten. Almost feeling like a ghost town.
What we thought would be an escape, left us both feeling more alone and depressed than we imagined. This is probably the most difficult time I have ever lived through. I’ve gone through a divorce, September 11th, the tragedy of that loss, and cancer, but never have I felt so sad and hopeless as I feel now. I try each day to wake and begin with a happy heart, but shortly after opening my eyes, I remember the state the world is currently in, and in that split second, my mood becomes one of despair and hopelessness again.
The advice many are giving to those isolated at home, is to find something that brings you joy. If you enjoy reading, then download a book or listen to a book, if you enjoy needlework, then now is your time to make something beautiful. For me, I enjoy photography and needlework. I am currently working on a Christmas stocking for my son-in-law, so I will continue to work on that. I also enjoy baking, and photography. I’ve baked so many muffins and cupcakes, we are beginning to gain weight from eating so many desserts.
As one my photography friends said, we should be photographing this period in history, and she was right. As sad as it is and as hopeless as it feels, it is history we are all witnessing. The photographs we take now will hold a place later that will document how we all had to live for a period of time, an unprecedented time. The last pandemic in modern times would be the Spanish Flu of 1918-1919. During that pandemic, it killed 50 million people, 3-4% of the worlds population. My hope for all of us, is that we learn from this terrible ordeal, that we begin to listen to the warning that is being given so loudly it feels like it is shouting at us.
My hope for all of you reading this, is that you all stay well, follow the guidelines being given, as difficult as it it. Also try and find a glimmer of hope in all of it, as my dad always said “this too shall pass”. Prayer and hope are so very important now, it gives us comfort in something larger than ourselves, it gives us the strength to carry on, and the belief life WILL get better. So, please keep the faith and remain hopeful!
Thank you for following along, may God keep you all safe . . .