The first thought was of how surreal it all seemed . Standing with but a few coworkers in the now desolate work space and listening as a couple of our Chef’s told us that we were being sent home until further notice . To stay home , stay safe and that we would receive weekly phone calls to check in with us . They welcomed our thoughts and concerns . One man spoke of our frightening it all was for him . All I could think of was how much I appreciated the way in which we came together , adapted to our changing circumstances and got the work done with good cheer in spite of our fears .
We parted company almost in silence . As if someone had died . The weight of not knowing when or if we’d all be back together in what used to be a bustling kitchen dance was bringing us into ourselves deeply .
On the surface I told myself that it was an opportunity to work on my art . That it would be the time and mental space that I had longed for in order to create . I had not yet recognized the depth of the sorrow for the world that would hold my heart bringing it’s own challenges to overcome in order to create .
And it was not only the world’s sorrows and difficulties that held me but also my own from the seeds that began my life . The aloneness that is loneliness born from a lack of connection to the people that are supposed to love you . When you are unseen in the moments that deeply touch your heart and are invisible when the moments of joy bring out the laughter and rather than joining in those moments they were experienced alone amongst the people that said they loved you .
I worried that the social isolation demanded during this pandemic would be a great burden on my already wounded soul . I allowed myself to weep . It was deep , anguish throughout the ages , kind of weeping . It led me , somehow , to my place of resiliency and love for life . I awoke from the fear of feeling longing to discover a way to help myself move through this time of global isolation .
Since I felt unable to focus on my artistic passions of painting and sketching then I would safely venture out in the city streets , as often as I had the energy for , and photograph the people and sights that spoke to our humanity amidst a life threatening virus . Capturing spontaneous images of the ways in which we express our kindness as well our fears became my project . By focusing on the visible ways that people chose to express themselves during a previously unimaginable stress is a means for healing my own wounds and stress . It is also a way of feeling to connected to people rather than alone and isolated . I become an observer as well as a participant in the struggle of the unknown .
The spontaneous wanderings around the closed up city with camera at the ready has afforded me the sight that my heart craves . The heart that still beats in the world and shows itself in the handmade signs expressing love for strangers , concern for your safety and courage to keep going .
This photo project that I’ve created as an assignment for myself is not quite done . I look forward to sharing it soon .