Through our lens: Counting the days

  • Paula Cleary, a third grade teacher at RK Finn Ryan Road School, passes off a project and learning packet to Madison Leblanc, 9, during the meal delivery at Florence Heights last Thursday. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Molly Butler works with her two children, Keegan Butler, 12, and Declan Butler, 9, to decorate their garage for Teacher Appreciation Week. The Westhampton Elementary School teachers picked up gifts provided by the PTO left on the Butler family’s porch last Friday. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Galaxy restaurant owner and chef Casey Douglass adds another mark to his tally on the side of his Easthampton house, where he is counting the days of isolation. He started 59 days prior, after a large birthday gathering at his home for his daughter; soon after, such gatherings were not allowed according to new social distancing guidelines. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Three empty champagne bottles mark the 2020 UMass graduation on a porch in Amherst. The graduation was held virtually Friday. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Mail carrier Marty Motyka receives notes, signs and gifts along his Westhampton route. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, his retirement got pushed back, along with his knee surgery. Now, he is looking to retire this summer. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • A large chicken lawn ornament in Easthampton, dressed for Pride Day. Photographed this past Monday. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Donald Warren, left, William Bray and Doric Dods check the time on their phones at the First Congregational Church of Southampton on Saturday, as they wait for the noon hour to ring the church bell for five minutes in tribute to frontline workers in the COVID-19 pandemic. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Photo Editor
Published: 5/14/2020 10:40:27 AM

Last week, a coworker looked at me, put his head down and said, “I just want this to be over.”

Sometimes simple statements just hit you. All of a sudden, I realized how intensely I felt the same way, and as I listen to people around me, it’s clear I’m not the only one feeling the burden of uncertainty. I stopped to talk to a mom for a quick second because I wanted to take a picture of her kids. Within minutes, we were talking about how hard the isolation is, how guilty she feels and how much she worries about whether she’s parenting right during a pandemic.

I took a photo of a teacher who had stopped to drop off homework for a student of hers who lives in Florence Heights. She’s concerned about the impact of the shutdown on her students’ education, yes, but she worries deeply about about their emotional health, she said. Driving through Amherst on Monday, two days after UMass had its virtual graduation, I could see telltale signs of celebration and thought how different this season will be. No caps in the air, no fist bumps or crazy dances as they walk across the stage.

On Monday, I went to Galaxy in Easthampton to take a picture of the owner-chef, Casey Douglass, for a story about restaurants preparing to reopen in the coming … well, we don’t know when, exactly. Douglass was hesitant, explaining the place was a mess as they had moved everything around to accommodate their takeout business. As we talked, he told me about the tally he is keeping on the side of his house. He explained that he adds a mark every day, and on that day, he was up to 59. “Since you shut down the business?” I asked. “It’s not about the business,” he said. “It’s about the isolation.” 

We are all getting tired, I thought, and the days are adding up. So many unknowns are ahead, and so many questions have not yet been asked. But a common theme I’m hearing: “If it were just a little warmer, things would be better.” 

Well, the landscape is now greener, and it’s getting warmer every day. The changing of seasons — at least that we can rely on. 

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