These Days (in the Pandemic): These Days

FiveI Did Not Make This Photo. March 21, 2020Forrest, the teenage-almost-adult son of my friends Danny and Lydia made this photo. I was texting with him and his sister, Tatum. I knew they were on a long drive home to Iowa, heading back from a family vacation that had been marked by the onslaught of the coronavirus. I asked Forrest and Tatum what the view from the back seat looked like. Within seconds, Forrest sent me this photo. In it, you can see Tatum, who has either just sent, or is about to send, her photo of her back-seat-view to me. I love it, partly of course because I love them, but also because it’s such a marker in time – a time of disruption in the history of humanity, a moment in time of a road trip that is already hours long, a moment of their childhood receding in the rear view  mirror.Their father, Danny, who is a photographer, made an entirely different set of photos of his view from the car window, a poetic and personal view of trees flashing by, his response to the corona-changing world around us. He was bothered at first when I told him what his kids had sent me; he thought they should be looking out, aware of the urgency of these days, instead of looking in. I said I thought Forrest’s photo was exactly what it should be, of a child feeling safe with his family in the familiarity of a road trip like so many other road trips they had made together over the  years. Forrest is on the cusp of looking out, at a world that is changing by the minute, before he can even step into it. He’s heading to college (if it’s open) and will swim on one of the best teams in the country (if pools are safe) and will probably head to the Olympics one day (if they’re held).I think of Forrest a lot right now. I want the world to be right-side-up for him. I want that car ride to last forever. But I don’t, not really. And it won’t. And there’s nothing  any of us can do but love him.
These Days

Five

I Did Not Make This Photo. March 21, 2020

Forrest, the teenage-almost-adult son of my friends Danny and Lydia made this photo. I was texting with him and his sister, Tatum. I knew they were on a long drive home to Iowa, heading back from a family vacation that had been marked by the onslaught of the coronavirus.

I asked Forrest and Tatum what the view from the back seat looked like. Within seconds, Forrest sent me this photo. In it, you can see Tatum, who has either just sent, or is about to send, her photo of her back-seat-view to me. I love it, partly of course because I love them, but also because it’s such a marker in time – a time of disruption in the history of humanity, a moment in time of a road trip that is already hours long, a moment of their childhood receding in the rear view mirror.

Their father, Danny, who is a photographer, made an entirely different set of photos of his view from the car window, a poetic and personal view of trees flashing by, his response to the corona-changing world around us. He was bothered at first when I told him what his kids had sent me; he thought they should be looking out, aware of the urgency of these days, instead of looking in. I said I thought Forrest’s photo was exactly what it should be, of a child feeling safe with his family in the familiarity of a road trip like so many other road trips they had made together over the years. Forrest is on the cusp of looking out, at a world that is changing by the minute, before he can even step into it. He’s heading to college (if it’s open) and will swim on one of the best teams in the country (if pools are safe) and will probably head to the Olympics one day (if they’re held).

I think of Forrest a lot right now. I want the world to be right-side-up for him. I want that car ride to last forever. But I don’t, not really. And it won’t. And there’s nothing any of us can do but love him.