A Black and White Journey Through Social Distancing

The last six weeks have been a journey through disunion. In a matter of days, we went from full, busy lives to social isolation and quiet. It is really quite a contrast. I’ve spent half of these days scratching my head with it all. If you’re like me, you’re surrounded by dichotomy on all sides.

There are the folks who think this is all a hoax. “It’s all blown out of proportion,” they say. Then, there are the people who say this pandemic is the apocalypse, and have stored up 6 months of food, purchased pallets of industrial sized toilet paper and bought up a few more guns.

At the grocery store, there are the mask wearers and the non wearers. I’ve seen everything from full plastic shields with masks to skeleton themed balaclavas to nothing.

There’s the political and the apolitical. Some think the shelter-in-place orders are a ploy to gain control and desensitize people to socialism. Others think the shelter-in-place orders were put into action too late for any real affect. Some are pulling for Bernie, some for Biden!

Disunity can be seen in the way the young and the old are responding to this virus crisis. There are the spring breakers, gathering in party hordes on Florida beaches. Then, there are the elderly who have their groceries delivered to their door step so that they don’t interact with any one in any way.

As a teacher, I’ve seen students on Zoom who are completely in for distance learning. On the other hand, I’ve seen students who cannot manage any of this and haven’t shown up or turned in a single assignment since everything locked down in mid March.

Its all too much!

Like my black and white photos, it is a study in contrasts. It is an exercise in managing shadow and light.

The overlap here is that black and white photography eliminates color so that the viewer focuses on shape and composition. That is what I’m attempting to do in the midst of this epic shift we are experiencing: to get away from the burning details and look more closely at the soft edges and silver linings of the times.

What a Month!

Slice of Life 2020: Day 31

As I prepared to write my final post for the March 2020 Slice of Life Story Challenge, I went back to my very first post on March 1. Looking over the list I made of all the things that were happening in my life on that day has given me pause. So much has happened and changed. Thankfully, some things have stayed the same. I said on March 1st that I would be writing from a place of gratitude about my life and that has truly been my guide these 31 days. Here’s a list I wrote on March 1st:

  • There’s a daughter’s fall wedding to plan
  • I’ve started a side hustle with my oldest son that’s getting off the ground
  • Two writing classes keep me busy
  • Three kids at home keep me cooking & cleaning
  • Lent begins tomorrow and there’s much spiritual work to do
  • There’s a baseball player in the house
  • There’s a marching band student in the house
  • There’s a wonderful husband in the house
  • There are service projects to plan and a bookstore at my church to run
  • There are photographs to take and edit

Today…

  • I can tell you my daughter is still getting married, but we’re not sure when or how.
  • The side hustle has actually taken off and since they’re out of work anyway, both my oldest boys have been chugging along on this project every day since the 17th.
  • The writing classes have kept me busy. In March, I completely reformatted my lesson plans to fit distance learning.
  • Instead of three kids at home, now there are four kids keeping me cooking and cleaning!
  • We’re still in Lent and there is still much spiritual work to do.
  • My baseball player and my marching band student have been laid off.
  • My wonderful husband is still here at the house, and he’s still working!
  • The service projects have all been cancelled. My bookstore is full of books, but there are no buyers.
  • I’ve taken photographs of it all.

What reflections can I make here?

  • Every day is a gift.
  • Every person in my life is cherished.
  • Life is constantly changing; we have to adapt to those changes in order to survive.
  • I am even more thankful to teach and interact with young people about something I love: reading and writing!
  • Weddings happen during times of great turmoil and that can be a blessing.
  • God is still in control; I am not.
  • Writing each day about all of these happenings has been a blessing and will serve as a digital preservation of our family’s adaptation to the changes and hurdles we’ve encountered this month.
  • Sharing these same struggles with my fellow writers in this community has inspired me and encouraged me to keep going.
  • Reading your stories has given me perspective and helped me along every single day in March.
  • I’ve made many new friends here.

Congratulations to all who have joined me in this year’s challenge. I’ve gotten to know so many of you through this experience, through this uncertainty in which we’ve all shared. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to stop by here to read my stories and see my pictures. I appreciate you and look forward to our meeting again.