Where were you when everything stopped? Where were you when the planes were grounded, shops and restaurants closed and life was put on hold? It’s been a strange few months. Probably the strangest the majority of us have ever experienced.
Life, for so many, had to pause. Time stood still. Just for a few weeks but it’s caused fear, uncertainty, and loss across the world. There has been no hiding from this invisible enemy.
Almost overnight restrictions were put in place to keep us at home, separate from each other, but safe. Busy streets deserted. Tourist attractions empty. People were categorised as ‘vulnerable or essential’ and if you were neither then your role was to follow the rules to keep them safe. No physical contact, wearing a mask, and social distancing quickly became the ‘new normal’. Our old life filled with inconsequential brushes with strangers and friends was gone, and with it jobs and financial stability for so many people. Nobody – not the experts, scientists, nor politicians – had any idea how long this would last. It was scary; no work, no money, how will we pay the rent? The future looked fragile. But in spite of all the gloom, the weather was strangely lovely, and sitting in the glorious sunshine I thought “What did I worry about before all of this, I was definitely stressed about something in January”.
Out of all of the chaos came a strange serenity. If you could distance yourself from the fears and uncertainly, then there was nothing else to do but wait until it was over. Patience and creativity. Our world suddenly got a lot smaller. We existed within the walls of our homes and the boundaries of our local communities. We met each other online instead of in public. People got creative, businesses had to get inventive, and they did. Communities and neighbours supported and helped each other. It was wonderful. Maybe the legacy of this strange time, where we lived so separately, will be a shared desire to maintain this collectiveness and society. After all good fences make good neighbours.
This wasn’t a party, it wasn’t a disco, we weren’t fooling around. People have lost loved ones. Key workers have selflessly put the needs of others before their own. This was a time that forced people to change their daily life and adapt very quickly. I walked around the empty streets and captured a city changing and adapting to crisis. It is for us all to imagine what our world will look like as we return to a post pandemic planet.
– Jack Hare