Together, Alone: Community Voices Documenting Life in the Pandemic

Become part of this historical record, created in real-time documentation, by submitting an entry here. Submissions can be poetry, fiction, non-fiction, memoir, ruminations and reflections, or art and photography; all forms of expression documenting how we cope, survive, and live as our lives change. This blog will be a living document of these experiences, and will become an historical record that we will be able to look back on. Help us record this time through your personal lens.

Apr 07

What's Important submitted by Rachel Whyte

Posted on April 7, 2020 at 9:19 AM by Jason Macoviak

Last night my husband and I were part of an online zoom experience with about 30 family members across Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Florida and Utah. We all got to see each other and talk for over an hour. There was a lot of laughter, along with some somber moments! I got to see the newest great granddaughter online for the first time, sweet little Jamie. My two daughters were their usual humorous and uplifting selves, along with all their grown children sitting, onscreen, in their own living rooms. There was an entertaining entrance to the zoom "meeting" by our 20-year-old college student grandson in Texas as he was in his car finishing a meal delivery, with his cell phone propped up on the car seat so that we could all only see the top of his head! I know that more zoom times will be coming in the future, and I know that sometime in the future we will all see each other again with hugs and laughter, but I will never take such times for granted ever again. And nothing can match this first zoom experience for its surreal addition to the year 2020 along with all of what has transpired since January 1.

I told our family members that our little town of Bisbee is taking the virus very seriously and so far there are no reported cases in town. Of course, that can change at any moment, but no one else in the family could say that. One of our granddaughters and her husband live, work and go to college in Gunnison, Colorado. They came to visit family in Grand Junction almost a month ago for Spring break, and are still there. The first week they were gone, Gunnison shut down and the whole town is quarantined and restricting people from entering or leaving. So many tourist came from Italy over Spring break to the nearby ski resort that they brought the virus with them and Gunnison is now a hot spot.

When the first serious word of this virus started cropping up on local news, it was during the week of March 9. As I drove through downtown Bisbee that Saturday, March 14, there were crowds of people shopping and enjoying the good weather, but it was soon after that when everything changed. It is a uniquely stressful time that none of us have experienced in our lifetimes. When things "get back to normal", I hope we are all dedicated to making positive changes centered around making the needs and health of all people top priority, something our country hasn't done in a long time. We now have a new appreciation of how quickly things can change!
Apr 07

Calling Tough Lovers submitted by Anonymous

Posted on April 7, 2020 at 9:19 AM by Jason Macoviak

Awareness of the pandemic’s imminent arrival despite official announcement of only one case, a foreign traveler in or out of the first-struck-to-worldwide attention who landed in California along with Covid-19 disease, first alarmed me when I thought of my girls who had traveled to Israel the previous month.

Oh, sure, I heard vaguely we had this new thing to worry about. However, living alone for so many years and learning to relax and enjoy it, I did not have the worrywart eruption until one of my daughters reported she was sick overseas.

This led to enhanced awareness once again of danger threatening the only people that are capable of fretting me. My children, all grown, independent in every way including politically, are only like their mother in that they don’t fret about this, that, and every germ that the fake news reports. Their mother, however, does not consider any news “fake,” but just spends most online time reading up on things like how close to roses can I plant my beets and what happened in the land of camels that I can use in my latest fantasy story.

Suddenly every single day electronic blips blast their voices into my consciousness accusing (your chosen scapegoats) of lying, deceiving, hating, doing a good/horrible job. All the anxiety I thought had gone into remission in November 2016 and overcome when it surfaced again in September 2020, resurged with malevolent force.

The spurious superficiality of my mental exercises disappeared when I learned of the extent of the lies imposed upon us as persons undeserving of the truth. At least, this is the reaction I had when I realized we were walking around infecting each other with no way to know who was carrying the disease and who might succumb to the deadly pneumonia that did not strike only elderly persons. The lack of truth coupled with the ignoring of our presence as human beings in need of real leadership cost me a few nights sleep.
After wrestling through the contradictory emotions that wanted to blame the most obvious person for lack of information, in order to relieve the sense I, too, was a stupid ignoramus with not enough judgment to investigate beyond the federal assurances of safety, I realized the futility of such a struggle.

No, I do not cut my leaders in Washington any slack whatsoever. They asked for the job of caring for national need to the best of their ability. I will not tolerate lies or mince words when I write our state elected officials.
Apr 03

The Cacophony of Alarm Bells submitted by Jason Macoviak

Posted on April 3, 2020 at 2:35 PM by Jason Macoviak

The books on the shelves are disquieting. Their titles cry out at me as I walk past their darkened rows; they beg to be picked up, they yearn to be held, they demand to be heard. Their sounds are deafening and confusing and become a cacophony of alarm bells by the time I make it to my office door. I enter and quickly close the door behind me to muffle the sound, take a seat at my desk, let out a big sigh, and then quickly get to work. Yes, there is work to be done: The Library remains essential to our patrons and it is now our responsibility to create new paths for community engagement and conversation and build new bridges to reach our patrons and help fill the gaps that this pandemic has created. Our doors may be shuttered, but our hearts and minds are completely open as we navigate an uncertain future. What is not uncertain, though, is the library’s steadfast commitment to Bisbee. Staff is working on creating new resources to help fulfill our mission and polishing old ideas to make sure that when we do reopen, the library that we all love and cherish will live on for another 137 years, and beyond. And, this library has lived more history and probably knows more than all of us : In 1919, the CQL was closed for 76 days for quarantine for the Spanish Flu, and when it reopened, it did so to a changed world and a new Bisbee. This town has written many stories throughout its years: tales of the first mining claim, the Bisbee Deportation, floods and fires, the closing of the mine and the reopening of our collective imaginations. There’s a reason the library is featured in so many historical photographs of this town: It is the heart of Bisbee. And, even with its doors closed today, it continues to beat and remains a lifeline in these uncertain times. FaceOff