Scenes from the Quarantine

by Philip Shucet

Sunshine was an invitation to take a walk yesterday. Since March 9, I’ve been out only twice for grocery store runs. Both trips were on rainy days.

Streets in my Norfolk neighborhood are generally quiet, but now they are nearly silent. There’s more time between the sounds of passing cars. Parking spaces that usually jump around like checkers are mostly stationary. The street has settled into its own brand of calm.

Across the street a woman came out to walk her dog. But even such a familiar sight came with an exception: She was the only other person on the block. Should I be out, I wondered. And then I remembered every good reason to take a walk. Especially on a sunny day.

The doors on the restaurants on Colley Avenue told me “Take out or Delivery Only.” But Strawberry Fields brought its business to the street. The gelato menu was inviting, but I didn’t see anyone behind the counter. I wanted to wait, but patience isn’t one of my strong suits.

Blair Middle School was closed, but the steps were in good use. On the left side for a properly social-distanced picnic, and on the right for exercise. If you can’t get to a StairMaster, the next best thing are actual steps.

Uncertain times lead to interesting signs. The message board at St. Mark’s on Colonial Avenue caught my eye. I knew that H.D. Oliver’s was the next building up the street. I made a photograph with those two signs in the same frame — the church and the funeral home.

I believe that science and spirituality peacefully exist together. And while I have my own views on organized religion, I generally steer clear of those discussions. I won’t argue with the concept that God, by any pronoun, is bigger than Covid-19. But tracing that thought back through traditional Judeo-Christian roots, doesn’t it also follow that God created the coronavirus?

If God created the universe, and if the universe is continually expanding, there must be an empty space beyond the universe. The outerverse. Maybe that’s where God is? And that would make God pretty big, I suppose.