It’s day 13. Nearly two weeks since I began this isolation. Back then I thought this would last two weeks at most, but I can’t shake this ominous feeling that this is just the beginning. The uncertainty is as grueling as the monotony. Wake up, let Gizmo out back and then groggily brush my teeth. Turn on my work computer, turn on the news, check my phone for messages…always in that order.
Back to back conference calls that I’m only half tuned into, lost in the news on my tv. The first week was an ever changing cacophony of updates, announcements and evolutions that I had to react to. This week is just the slow creep of accumulating numbers, hopefully waiting for a hint of the peak.
It didn’t come today.
I have friends I keep in touch with every day via text, but the isolation is taking its toll. The feeling of helplessness takes a deeper one. Outside my door there’s a story that needs to be told – the news isn’t capturing it, my social feeds aren’t addressing it, and my camera is sitting motionless on my desk. I’ve been fairly silent on my social feeds, and with people outside of NY in general, so far. Some of it is not accepting this was just a temporary thing, and some of it was just not being able to find the words.
So today, I picked up my camera. I walked out my front door without any destination.
I took precautions. Once I left my apartment I was careful not to touch anything, especially my face, and stayed at least six feet away from anyone I passed. I haven’t been off my block this week, and this week the emotions have been much heavier – I didn’t know what to expect.
5th avenue, Madison Square Park, Union Square – then back up 3rd ave to make my way back to my apartment. The emptiness. I really don’t have the words for it. It’s stunning, it’s unbelievable, it’s heart breaking. It stayed with me for the rest of the night. I can’t remember what the beginning was like anymore, and I don’t see any end…which leaves only waiting.
But photographing what I was seeing helped. Sharing my photos helped. Communicating these inexplicable emotions helped; it didn’t matter that I couldn’t find the words, I only needed to share what I was seeing.
Tomorrow will be day 14. Out of how many I don’t know, I’ve given up trying to predict.
Tomorrow I’m going to pick up my camera again. There’s so much more of the story I want to tell…