Primavera is upon us. That First Spring is an occasion to celebrate new life, and is particularly relevant on a planet where death counts constitute the main news, day after day, and will likely continue throughout the season. It’s hard for you, it’s hard for me. But it’s easier together. We’re fighting back.
Help will not come from the top, but from the side.
First, acknowledge your government is lying to you. How do I know? They’re all saying something different (scientists, however, have a more united speech that we can turn to for reliable information). The most liberal among them are apparently willing to sacrifice millions of lives to support their biased worldviews. It is only the work of scientists that is keeping them in line.
Secondly, never forget we’re in this together. However low, isolated or worried you are feeling, you are not alone. People are thinking about you. People are there to help, if only morally. Communities are the solution. For the past few years, I’ve been promoting community building as the backbone of my marketing consultancy to clients who’d far prefer I shut up and just do PPC like the rest of the world. I tried to build a company around the concept and failed. But I’m right. And let me tell you what I’ve witnessed these past few days. Woefully underequipped doctors and nurses self-organising around this epidemic and putting in place robust systems with an extraordinary efficiency that top-down organisations could only dream of. Never in my life have I seen the future unfold with such clarity. The contrast between scared isolated animals stealing masks or fighting over bumff and trailblazing self-organized communities with a common purpose has never been more striking. When the business world finally catches on to this, today’s large dinosaurs will tumble in a matter of months. But, closer to us, find yourself a community. Heck several communities. Be that a print club, a church, DS, a soup kitchen, a charity, a book club, a group of friends … The Internet is still up, don’t stay alone. Ever.
Feeling low and vulnerable? Help others.
Helping others helps you tremendously. The past few days have been tough on me. My kids are in another country, with a government that-has-no-clue-and-doesn’t-care begrudgingly leading the charge. My parents are hundreds of miles away. My grand parents, nearing 100, are ultra vulnerable, alone at home (with visiting nurses) and we’re not allowed to visit or help. My wife is sent to the front lines every morning with inadequate protection, while I stay at home like a lump of rock wondering how many of my loved ones will be around by the time all of this recedes. My friends are in trouble, worrying about their jobs, also worrying for their families. Humans everywhere seem to retreat further into their animal origins every day, either fighting over bogroll or in selfish denial. But just starting this post has made me feel so much better. It’s a tiny help to a tiny number of people, but it’s a start. Helping others fights the fear. No, it kills the fear, stops it instantly.
Fuck off fear, I’m still standing.
Really wanna help? Stay home.
Imperial College recently released projections for the UK epidemic. Do nothing (as buffoons-in-chief Bojo and Trump initially suggested) : 400 000 dead in the UK (2.2 million in the US). Social distancing: about half those numbers. Confinement (as in France or Italy) : around 15 000 (which is still tragic, but is 25 times better). 80% of infected people don’t develop symptoms but are contagious. You could be carrying it, right now, and never know. Except for work and vital necessities: Stay home.
You have masks and gel? Donate them to doctors and hospitals. You don’t need either at home.
In his most famous speech, Winston Churchill declared “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat”. This time is different. While tragedy is already upon thousands of family, this epidemic also offers us the choice of “Dignity, friendship, support and progress” . I’ll drink to that (I’ll also shut up and leave you with two much funner gentlemen 🙂 )
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,
You have had it a bit too easy on Dear Susan with your past contributions, using pictures taken much earlier than your posts, for example, and the DS steering committee has thus decided to enforce some more stringent rules before allowing publishing 😉
More seriously, most of us if not all are on government house arrest, possibly twiddling our thumbs and being maybe somewhat startled if not depressed. Remember that DS is like Asterix’s village: totally resistant to gloom.
I am therefore proposing the following extra ordinary challenge : come up with pictures taken from your current confinement location, inside or outside, at your leisure.
They can be arty (flowers), humorous (like your neighbor’s toilet paper reserves overflowing) or whatever else. Like any picture you might wish to receive from a friend to cheer you up when you are up the creek.
So, what is the best photograph you can make from your confined state ? Send your pics by the end of the month to pascal dot jappy at gmail dot com (1000 – 2000 px long side jpeg) and let’s have fun in spite of the conditions. Normal challenge sequence (Bayhem, RAW, Polished) will resume after this 🙂
Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust. This common sentence is often attributed to the Bible, but wrongly so. For the Bible is not a celebration of death (we will all end up dead) but of life. For believers, eternal life, even.
This is my metaphor for this chapter – a dramatic one- of our lives. We will not all end up dead. Fewer than 2% maybe. And, even so, while it is a terribly cynical thought, Covid-19 strikes at the already enfeebled. But, as La Fontaine said in his fable The animals sick of the plague : “they died not all, but all were sick”.
Our sickness, the one that strikes not 2% of the population, but 98%, is fear. This is why I choose not to talk about the 2%, but the 98%, and to say: there will be a day after. In effect, I am already seeing the premises and promises of the day after. The early signs of life on trees and shrubs. There will be life, in all its glory. Rejoice!
Besides, us ‘togs are a resilient community. We document the world’s horrors and miseries, but we do not become part of them. We also document the world’s pleasures and beauties. And, should the worst happen, how do we remember our loved ones? With photographs, that’s how. With our pictures, we bring solace, and sweet memories. We help the world remember, so that we all may move on to a new era. A better one, where the mistakes and follies of the past will not be repeated. And where nature will blossom anew, ignorant of human struggle, impervious to time, willing to be dust in a few weeks because it knows what we have trouble understanding, that there will be a day after, a week after, a month after…
And there will be pictures to be made, and the soft sound of a good shutter.
Stay safe, practice and hone your skills, we need to be ready when again we can roam the world. These pictures have all been made in strict conformance within the boundaries of confinement. There will be a tomorrow.
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