The weather currently seems like a cruel joke of nature. All week it has been freakishly settled, clear and sunny after weeks of extremely stormy weather wreaking widespread flooding and major damage. Now it is all calming and serene, but everybody is having panic attacks and nobody can go out much.
Life is increasingly hard to process as the spread of coronavirus accelerates. Your mind takes terrifying middle-of-the-night leaps. It is impossible not to worry, hard to stave off simmering anxiety about what is happening and what will happen next to us as a country, a society, and to us as families and individuals.
This is the biggest human emergency to occur in the lifetime of virtually everyone. Incomprehensible volumes of people will die across the world, near and far. There are countless relatively undiscussed subtexts: the homeless, domestic abuse, child abuse. As unavoidable as the news seems, it can help to avoid it for certain periods.
Family life distracts from the wider world. In our house we have all suffered various virus symptoms for a few weeks. These include high temperatures, endless wheezing coughs, and maddening sleepless nights that come with having a poorly 18 month-old.
A precious slab of sleep can deliver a lift in energy that reminds you what it is like to feel normal. You deliriously float along on it for a time, willing it to continue, hoping you have turned a corner. Then it is stamped out by another torrid night. It is like being circled by a skilled boxer who jabs and jabs and slowly wears you down. You do your best to battle through but you are exhausted.
Remember though, you terrible self-absorbed person, you are not working 24-hour shifts in a hospital, you are not one of those poor sods on a ventilator, you are not burying a loved one. At least not yet.
And there are moments of lightness and laughter, when the health is better, when you enter the world of a toddler or an excited dog, when you can lose yourself completely for a time. In a way that you could not if you were any of those people in worse situations.
Guilt is ever-present. Most parents probably share the same guilt about not doing enough to stimulate or educate or exercise their children. The situation can feel like a developmental concern with an infant on the cusp of (but not quite) walking, when you consider she will have no socialisation for months.
If you snap at a partner, you might feel guilty. We are all penned up now and these things will happen. Relationships will be tested.
Guilt also comes in the form of the wider effort against coronavirus. There are incredible stories of altruism, care and kindness. You want to contribute somehow, more than clapping, and maybe you will at some point.
But the first priority is family, supporting each other as you live in a confined bubble to slow the virus spread. You must try to get well and do everything you can to sustain an income. I provide writing services as well as photography and this work can be sporadic. Fortunately I have a project on at the moment.
As for event photography and sport photography, those lines of business will not be flourishing anytime soon.
Most of these images were taken in the same area over two days. I returned for my daily dog-walking exercise, partly because it’s a lovely spot where I have barely seen another soul in around four years. Partly because I lost a lens cap on the first day, which I found on the second.
This period already feels like it has lasted forever, even though it has barely started. You badly want to hit a forward-wind button, skip to the end. But we can’t. We have to get on with living in a world radically changed by the spread of coronavirus, one day at a time.
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