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.

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9 responses to “Scenes from the Quarantine

  1. Phil –

    Thanks for re-infusing Bacon’s Rebellion with much needed style, refinement, art, history and culture. There is hope now for us all.

  2. Interesting thoughts. I never thought about there being empty space beyond the universe. But, if the universe is everything, it, by definition, includes that “outerverse”.

  3. I wish there were an easy way for each of us to share similar scenes from where we live.

    We walk almost everyday in a Battlefield Park – so far still open – and I have never seen so many people – and families. Some are walking and talking and others still velcroed to their cell phones.. The dogs are loving it.

    The only down side is the trash and plastic bags of dog poop along the
    park road…

    And thanks Phillip!

  4. Nice photos

  5. Interesting decision to use black and white photography. Appropriate and striking under the circumstances. If it warms up a bit next week I’ll get out my kayak and take some pictures of spring springing out on the Chesapeake Bay. Nature doesn’t seem to care about a virus affecting humans. Trees and flowers are blooming, ospreys are building nests. I think I’ll shoot in color.

  6. Phil, do you develop your own black and white photos? I used to do that. Lots of fun

  7. The school steps there in Norfolk are telling, the world in Ides Of March, in the Year 2020.

    Two students, a boy and girl, face one another, their noses exactly 6 feet apart, one from the other, their knees up as if in knobby defense, yet oddly otherwise close on the very same step three rungs from the bottom and 4 rungs below a boy, stranger coming down the 22 rung staircase, all 22 rungs fenced in by a high wire fence on both sides. So the stranger is fenced in too as if captured too close at 7th rung to the couple now 4 rungs below, so he’s stepping down fast, extra fast trying to past quick, quick as he can, on staircase’s far side fenced in there too. Just 6 more steps down, go quick, then he’s free at last on open ground.

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