May 15, 2020

Indefinite Suspension

We're a few weeks into May and what many thought would be a week or two of mild inconvenience has evolved into a global pandemic affecting virtually everyone around the world. In upstate New York, we are well within the second month of a complete lockdown due to COVID-19 and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. Aside from essential businesses, virtually everything is closed. Even simple things that involve being around other people, like grocery shopping, have become incredibly complex and are constantly being balanced with concerns for safety. For the kids, the uniqueness of being home from school has worn off almost entirely. Instead, they miss their friends, with whom they've been separated for more than eight weeks now. When it comes down to it, there really doesn't seem to be anything normal about this "new normal."

Throughout this ordeal, what I'm finding to be the most surreal is how some aspects of life have felt like they've come to a complete stop while others continue to proceed as they always have. For example, other than turning it on from time to time to let it run, I haven't driven my car anywhere in nearly two months. My daily work routine has transformed from long hours away from home at the office to a boundaryless blur between business and personal time all under the same roof. Meanwhile, visual evidence of the changing seasons continues to progress daily. This act of documenting each changing day through photography has only highlighted the contrast between the normal and the new. This sense of dissonance is something I'll always remember from these unprecedented times.

We have had days that end with golden light and warm breezes, and days that bring scattered snow showers as the shoulder season of winter clings for dear life. Each day, new things are blooming, bringing fresh color to the landscapes and fruitful aromas to the evening air. Other days are grey, and could easily be mistaken for March if not for the patches of greens and reds emerging from the bare branches high up in the trees. Meteorologists agree, it has been a rare and dynamic May... but really, the same applies to more than just the weather.

Dr. Anthony Fauci was on the news this morning speaking about the state of the Coronavirus in the United States and said "it's going to get worse before it gets better" which, let's admit it, is really not great news. Like a lot of people I know, I try to focus on the positive and take things one day at a time. I know that we will get through this, but I also suspect many things will never be the same again. As I continue capturing these pictures during the lockdown, I often find myself thinking that decades from now, we'll ponder the dramatic differences between our "pre-COVID" lives and our "post-COVID" lives. I'm not sure what we'll say when we look back, but these photographs will be an integral part of how I remember the transition.

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