I will remember the winter of 2020 as a long, dark period; one marked by feelings stirred up while helping others through their struggles and by the death of my father. The long winter continues now of course, fuelled by the daily onslaught of COVID-19 related news and the cancellation this week of a family vacation to Disneyland (we were to touch down in LA the day they announced the park closures).
All of this can seem like a lot, can’t it? Especially when you consider that we humans are wired with a negative bias (our DNA is still watching out for Saber-toothed Tigers), which means that it is easy to become overwhelmed by all of these negative feelings if we allow it to happen.
Amongst the chaos of life’s challenges, however, there are still opportunities to find peace and simple moments of joy. Such was the case earlier this year, when I finally had the chance to get away and be a photographer again. I spent a few days in a city that I love, spending time with my amazing wife and with my photography friends. I felt the sun on my face, I relaxed and watched the world go by, I dined with friends, and I made photos again with intention and purpose. It was a wonderful reminder that no matter how dark the winter is… the sun will always shine again.
Even now, at a time when we should all be making realistic modifications to our daily lives to help slow the spread of COVID-19, the sun will continue to shine. I won’t be travelling again for a while, but there are ways that I can find moments of joy while still doing my part to protect the herd and keep pressure off of our health care system: I can spend time with my family, shoot landscapes, process old photos, read books, play guitar, re-watch old movies, go out and enjoy my city in a way that respects social distancing, do yoga, etc.
No matter how dark the winter is… the sun will shine again.
So, keep your hands clean my friends. Don’t use hand rails when going up stairs. Try not to touch your face while you are out and about. Stay home if you feel ill. Stay 6’ away from people when you can. Perhaps phone or Skype at risk family members and friends rather than visiting them face to face for a little while (remember, you can be an asymptomatic carrier). Understand that these common sense actions aren’t just about keeping you safe, they are about protecting the herd and our health care system. They are about protecting immunocompromised people. They are about protecting pregnant people. They are about protecting our elderly who have co-morbidities. After all, we are in this together, right?
Most importantly though: Be purposeful in deriving joy from your life and your art, even during these troubled times. No, especially during these troubled times. Don’t let your passion get drowned out by negative bias or by the onslaught of news that the media sends our way. Use common sense, but always let the sun shine in… for all winters come to an end.
And with that, I shall leave you with some new photographs. I hope you like them.