By going out to public places it made me think about when the time is right and when this is over, we are going to appreciate more being around our friends and loved ones. Being at home gave a new perspective as well to look at this pandemic affecting our culture. Something that I hope people are reflecting on is how much they miss hugging their loved ones. Most importantly don’t take any of these things for granted any more.
Living through a global pandemic, an event that will be recorded in history books for long after we’re gone, kind of sucks. Schools are closed and many are out of work, which means entire livelihoods have been disrupted. Spring events are cancelled or postponed (we all have an impending dread that those postponements will eventually be postponed as well). We have been learning new habits; some should have been there all along. Wash your hands, clean your groceries, keep a six foot distance from the people around you — is this our new normal? Will we ever get away from this virus? As I walk along the streets of a city I have always loved, I cannot help but to feel as if we are living through an apocalypse. Everything is somber, raindrops feel like ashes from this gray sky. We don’t know when things will go back to how they used to be, but surely this isn’t the end for us. We’ll keep on living. Through it all, humanity survives. One day, hopefully soon, this virus won’t hurt us as bad. PHOTO AND STORY BY SARAH ALI
During this stressful time, the big phrase on everyones’ mind is “social distancing”. I decided to go and look around campus. It was odd being in a place that’s usually busy with students studying for finals. It was almost eerie. However, one thing people need to remember is that during this time of uncertainty, the world still spins. The UT Gardens was the best way to realize this. Plants are still blooming, the birds are still singing, and life continues on the outside world. PHOTOS BY CARL MYERS
Most people since March have been staying inside their homes only to go out and make essential trips. Some enjoy getting some fresh air outside and hanging in a hammock by themselves instead of in their room, and others decide to be delivery drivers and are outside and amongst the public all day, everyday. That’s what I’ve been doing since quarantine started, delivering the people of Knoxville their favorite foods through DoorDash, since most restaurants are either closed or only doing take-out and delivery options. Not only have I been putting myself in front of the public by doing so, but so has every other essential worker that keeps America running. PHOTOS AND STORY BY KAITLYNN LUFFMAN
Empty streets, closed businesses, and few people out make Knoxville seem like a ghost town. COVID-19 has affected almost everything in our lives, and we will feel the effects for a long time.
As I walk around downtown, I see a few people out, most keeping reasonable social distance, but some are still not heeding the warnings. The city has a strange feel, and I miss the liveliness and happenings of this time of year. While the dogwoods are blooming, we will not have the Dogwood Arts Festival and events this year. The chalk walk art won’t be covering the square.
People are still keeping in contact with and checking on friends and family, finding new ways to spend time with each other while maintaining a safe distance. Zoom, FaceTime, telephone, and countless other ways to communicate and spend time together. I had dinner with a friend even though we are different states using FaceTime. Our normalcy has changed and no timeframe of when or if things will go back to the way they were. We will have a new normal after COVID-19.
How does one know what is essential? Throughout school, one is taught that the basic needs of life are food, water and shelter. I think we found that now, there’s much more we need than just just those three things. We need each other.
Over the past week I have been going out around the street taking photos of those who are still out and about. How do you show someone distancing themselves from others? On previous outings I would often stop whoever I was taking a photograph of and ask them for their permission to continue. After introductions I would usually follow up with questions of why they are here, or what they are doing. PHOTO AND STORY BY PARKER BROWN
Because of social distancing I have been forced to pay more attention to even the minute aspects of my life. Before I could just go for a drive and lose half a day going to various locations. With many businesses being closed in Knoxville, I had to get creative on where to explore and spend my down time. It was during these moments I was able to see how other locals were taking in the current situation. One of the first places I found myself was Gay Street where my second favorite ice cream shop is still open. Written on a dry erase board was the mandatory six feet separation for customers. Upon making it to the front of the line I realized the cashier and the rest of the staff were wearing plaid face masks to match with their uniforms. After snapping a quick photo, it was time to enjoy my shake. PHOTOS AND STORY BY MADISON WIDENER
Although plenty of individuals are following the ‘stay-at-home’ orders and trying to stay at least six feet apart when they are out in public, there are still a lot of people out and about in Knoxville, especially at the parks as parents take their kids on bike rides, joggers run along the trails and grandparents leisurely walk. And while Knox County may have roped off playgrounds, bathrooms and sports fields, people still find ways to be outside.
A few Saturday’s ago, I ventured out to take photos, and to get out of the house for the first time in a while. A friend had told me about how this bagpipe player would be in Sequoyah Hills. First to perform for a funeral procession and then Tyler Roy, better known as the Vol Piper, walked along the streets of Sequoyah Hills attempting to raise awareness and funds for the Second Harvest Food.
As he walked, for a brief moment, neighbors walked behind him forgetting the six feet apart rule, enjoying their own company and his music as his bagpipes squealed and hummed songs including Rocky Top and Star Wars. The community walked in procession, some wearing masks and others not, and although I kept my own distance from everyone, it felt comforting to see people together. PHOTOS AND STORY BY GABI SZYMANOWSKA
Quarantine life for me has been normal, but slightly askew. I am lucky to still have a job and go to work twice a week but to an empty restaurant where I deliver food to cars instead of tables and answer phones instead of face to face interaction. Life at home has led to a very clean house but no drive to do assignments online as I learn better traditionally. Video games, Netflix and at home workouts have become my daily repetition and I have started to actually hate looking at my phone screen. Staying home this long is unusual for me as I am one who thrives outside camping or traveling. I hope after the stay home is lifted the world can recover safely but also quickly. PHOTO AND STORY BY LOGAN MITCHELL
I’ve thought about how to start this a lot. I want to say how much COVID-19 has affected me, but I’m a college student that hasn’t been financially affected, and my family is safe and healthy, so who am I to complain? If there’s ever been a time to not compare struggles, it’s now, but how are you supposed to grin and bear all this? I didn’t sign up for this-I didn’t enroll in an in-person university to then be expected to be able to be the same student in an online environment. I think that’s how we all feel though. None of us signed up for this. No nurse, doctor or anyone in health care expected to put their lives on the line due to a worldwide pandemic. Although times are some of the toughest some of us have ever had, and tensions are high, the love and compassion in the world seems greater than all that. Strangers helping out strangers, people in cities on balconies cheering for those on the front line, hearts being shared with overflowing compassion. Of course humanity isn’t perfect, but these times have proven my core beliefs-that people are good. I know we can get through this and from what I have seen, we will continue to do it with heart. PHOTO AND STORY BY EMME YOUNCE