Up until a few days ago, nothing seemed real. I was in rural western Ireland on assignment for a magazine. Fresh air, fields of sheep, mountains, and the all the Irish Breakfast tea I could ever dream of.
We would see the news from time to time. Westchester County in New York was in a red zone. The death toll rising daily. Italy was beginning to collapse. But, then I’d look out at the lake, the fresh smell of spring, the birds in the trees. It was so easy to feel unaffected.
Then, the news came that Trump was closing off entry from Europe except for the UK. Ireland is not part of the UK for anyone wondering. Suddenly everything became real. Talk of having to rush to the airport and escape Ireland circled the table of reporters… But luckily, Trump soon came out and rephrased, saying, “The UK and Ireland.” The consensus around the country was that Trump didn’t realize that Ireland wasn’t part of the UK. We all had a laugh, and life went back to being delusional and removed the outside world.
That lasted for a few days… Until more news came, that the UK and Ireland were now included in the ban. Reality came flooding in. It was time to leave Ireland. The entire world was shutting down. The feeling of being protected, of being immune, of being separate, suddenly vanished.
The next morning we were on a flight back to New York City, only to find that the city was now in lockdown. Gyms, restaurants, cafes, bars, and stores, were are all closed. A few restaurants are still open for delivery and take out only. Now, a full lockdown is set to begin tomorrow. It will now be illegal for offices to ask employees to come into work. Places will be fined if customers are found inside. And there is a general sense of Armageddon in the air.
However, as I write this, the sun is shining out my window. The cherry blossoms in Williamsburg are beginning to bloom, and birds are chirping in the sky.
It’s strange. They say the coronavirus could end up killing close to 100,000 people…and yet, Mother Nature wouldn’t even know. Life goes on, whether we’re a part of it or not.
~ The Dark Horse