Minneapolis and St. Paul Airport Herbert Humphrey Terminal 2 on April 9 and 11, 2020 on what was to be two busy pre-Easter travel days now marked by emptiness.
Try to Praise the Mutilated World By Adam Zagajewski
Try to praise the mutilated world. Remember June’s long days, and wild strawberries, drops of wine, the dew. The nettles that methodically overgrow the abandoned homesteads of exiles. You must praise the mutilated world. You watched the stylish yachts and ships; one of them had a long trip ahead of it, while salty oblivion awaited others. You’ve seen the refugees heading nowhere, you’ve heard the executioners sing joyfully. You should praise the mutilated world. Remember the moments when we were together in a white room and the curtain fluttered. Return in thought to the concert where music flared. You gathered acorns in the park in autumn and leaves eddied over the earth’s scars. Praise the mutilated world and the gray feather a thrush lost, and the gentle light that strays and vanishes and returns.
~ Adam Zagajewski (Translated, from the Polish, by Clare Cavanagh.) September 17, 2001, The New Yorker
There is sweetness In the suspension of busyness Making space for nothingness Sublime simplicity In the hours Of a day
I went to Duluth today March 27, 2020 to photograph the city on the first day of Governor Walz’s Emergency Executive Order 20-20 Directing Minnesotans to Stay at Home. I have been writing about and photographing the Covid-19 pandemic for two weeks now to bear witness to this experience.
In Duluth I found empty spaces and abandoned places where usually on a Saturday there would be people, very little traffic and only congregants of humanity at grocery and liquor stores. So, people are staying home. I am still wondering though about the “essential” workers and if some are essential to keep the wheels of commerce and capitalism from completely coming off. It seems there is a dichotomy between legions of healthcare workers doing all that is possible to save lives and some politicians doing all they can to save the economy. There appears to be a certain willingness by some to sacrifice life for dollars. There will be a reckoning after all of this and so many things will be different – so many unintended consequences yet to be known.
Since the metaphor of war has been invoked to describe what is being waged against this virus, I would like to think it analogous to WWII when the Germans invaded Poland and France. At that very point, early on in 1939-1940 with a lot of war left to go until D-Day. We are only at the beginning of a protracted crisis.
I will share my photos here on this first day of “Stay at Home” which is two weeks after some already began to stay at home to work and students stayed home from school. New York, the epicenter of the US outbreak is expecting to reach the apex of infection in about 21 days and Minnesota not for weeks yet. This is going to be our new reality for some time and we still do not know if there will be a second wave of Covid -19 similar to what occurred in the 1918 pandemic. There is much that remains to be seen. I will continue to reflect and write and photograph to have a record of these times.
In the end Buildings become ruins Bodies dirt Memories history Life an enchanted empty space