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The weariness of covid-19 isolation

Updated: Jan 18, 2021

Yesterday I sorted through photos to begin curating a collection for this site. I have thousands upon thousands of photos, and I had no established criteria, so I was intuiting as I went along. I decided that I wanted to select images that resonated with something related to what feels like an aspect of the essence of the person. I wanted people who represented a diversity of experience, across nations and cultures, and within these nations. And as I selected, I could linger on the stories I hold of the people in the pictures, and my relationship with them.

I became very aware of how long it has been since I have been able to spend time with people in ways that allow me to just watch and wait for moments when their essence may show up in the lens. Patti (my wife) and I spend a lot of time together, but she is not so much interested in me constantly pointing the camera at her from across the room, waiting for the moment to arrive. Aside from Patti, I see very few people. We occasionally gather with family, or friends, outdoors on the patio or deck, but it is conversation time, not a time for me to stand back and look through the lens, and participate by observing.

I was aware of the sadness of this time, the experiences missed that normally I could enjoy capturing through the lens...our niece's final dance performance, and her graduation from college; our granddaughters birthday gatherings, and the scheduled first time that our oldest granddaughter would travel to stay with us for a few days without her Mom and Dad and younger sister; our annual gathering in Toronto with friends, new and old, at the Summer Institute right in the heart of the city; our planned trip to the Tokyo Olympics, with good friends and our daughter, to watch her wife, our daughter in law play her last rugby sevens games of her career. We missed the family gathering in Stowe VT for Thanksgiving, and our annual Christmas eve tradition with family members, and the following day with Patti's entire family. We missed outdoor music concerts, locally, and our plan to travel again with good friends to Mexico for concerts on the beach. We missed our annual travel for our work, where we are fortunate to have good friends we can spend time with in Croatia, and Scotland, and take a side trip for a few days to just visit with a dear friend in Lancashire England. And deeply we missed finding ways to travel north to Canada to see our family and friends, and be able to watch our granddaughters grow.

I am not in a position to complain. During a time of global pandemic, we have been so privileged to be able to find ways to continue to work, and live so as not be exposed to the risk of contracting the virus. Many others do not have that option. But in a quiet moment of looking at photos that have come from the opportunity to be with, and around people, I can notice the absence of the spirit that passes between humans when we can just be present in the same spaces, and I can feel the absence of a hug, or our granddaughters sitting in our lap as we read books together. There is a weariness that comes from the missing.

The darkest time of the year has passed. The sun is on course to return. Warmer weather will follow. And if we are lucky a vaccine will make being together again a possibility. But for today, I simply honor the weariness as I re-member the life of people in my photographs.

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