|3/6/20 Green Lake neighborhood|
Toward the end of the week after the first COVID-19 deaths in King County – the first in the US – had been announced, I was feeling very glum. Up until that news, the Terrible Silent Killer was an ocean away in Asia and Europe. I had been concerned and wary, but not distressed. Suddenly, the Killer could be sitting next to me on the bus, handling the apple I was about to put in my cart or opening any door ahead of me.
On Thursday I quarantined myself at home as officials urged us to avoid “large groups” (defined as 10 or more) and keep our distance from others. Seventy percent isopropyl alcohol became the only thing between me and every deadly bug in the universe. The University of Washington announced that it was cancelling classes – the first US college to do so. Meanwhile, the other USk Seattle admins and I were discussing by email whether to cancel scheduled sketch outings. It was downright depressing.
The next day I had a few errands to take care of, so I went out into the maelstrom of nastiness that was surely swirling all around me. My first stop was the Green Lake library to return a book; thankfully, I could use the drive-up bin and avoid facing all those germy staffers and patrons inside!
Before contaminating myself by opening the bin, I thought I’d try to find a sketch from the parking lot. I’m used to sketching from my car – I do it every winter – but this day felt different. Sequestered in my car out of fear was a terrible way to sketch, and I felt more depressed than ever.
Just then, I spotted a small tree just beginning to blossom – a pink spot of hope on a bleak, gray day. COVID-19 be damned. If this is the way I must sketch on location, so be it.