The New York Times created a wonderful new series called The World Through A Lens for its travel section. Since virtually all travel stopped in April due to stay in shelter orders instituted around the world, NYT decided to let its photojournalists virtually transport its readers to “some of our planet’s most beautiful and intriguing places.” I decided to capture COVID-19 Washington DC Through A Lens.
This idea challenged me to find a way to virtually transport my readers to Washington, DC. Last Sunday, I went out to exercise during the afternoon and captured these scenes of my once bustling city now turned so still. I also created this YouTube video.
Washington DC Through A Lens
I feel so grateful that I can continue to see the monuments on the National Mall as well as walk daily around the U.S. Capitol Grounds for my early morning exercise. I get out the door my 6:15 am so I can walk for nearly two hours before work. There are few people on the streets around the U.S. Capitol grounds except the runners. And the trees. I also pass a few dog walkers near my condo.
Typically, I am so happy to see any one look up and make eye contact. I can no longer see if a person smiles because their mouth is hidden by the mask. Yesterday I complimented a neighbor on her beautiful white dog. She looked like such a proud pet parent. I asked his name. “Fleurry!” she told me. This short conversation conducted at 6 feet distance made my day.
I think we all have to work so much harder to continue to find ways to emotionally connect. Since I am a writer, I love to send emails and write letters. One of my biggest joys now is to receive communications from my dear friends who are both close as well as far away. We give each other strength.
My friend Jan in Australia shared a poem this week in an email. It was written by Lynn Ungar. Below is an excerpt from this poem. Please go to Ungar’s website to read the poem in its entirety. In particular, the photo of the field of blue camas lilies blooming in profusion will take your breath away.
And you—what of your rushed
and useful life? Imagine setting it all down—
papers, plans, appointments, everything—
leaving only a note: “Gone
to the fields to be lovely. Be back
when I’m through with blooming.”
I leave you with this thought. COVID-19 forces us to discard our rushed lives. We are living in forced self-isolation. Naturally, we feel profound loneliness. This is a period when we can easily feel disheartened.
But what if you seek out nature to connect to the earth? As my friend Linda wrote me, “I go to the Lincoln Memorial and hug trees in place of hugs with my friends.” Please know that I send each of you a virtual hug.
Through A Lens Photo Essay
Now enjoy the photographs below of Washington DC Through A Lens.