2020: If you’re going through hell, keep going.

Planes flying past clouds near Nashville Tennessee, Monday, August, 3, 2020. Photo: Harrison McClary/NNO Media LLC

Harrison McClary/NNO Media LLC

As 2020 started I was excited about several new projects I was developing.  I had hired lawyers to create contracts, had hired wordsmiths to write promotional materials. Hired someone to do marketing for me.  2020 was going to be the year I reinvented the way I worked and what I did.  It was that alright, just not the way I planned.

In January I watched the news out of China with my wife, listening to her talk with fear about what was happening there.  Several of her former medical school classmates were working in the hospitals of Wuhan and were treating the patients with a SARS like virus.  Before the CCP locked all communications down they were reporting the effects of this new sickness and she was very scared it would eventually spread worldwide.  As we all know, it did.

March blew into Tennessee with a fury, major tornadoes leveled large swaths of Tennessee, ploughing through Nashville and its suburbs killing many and leaving many more homeless.  I covered those tornadoes for the Reuters news service.  Little did I know that would be my last paying job for almost six months.  In the first two weeks of March, I saw everything I had scheduled vanish into COVID lockdowns.  I saw the plans I had made, the money I had spent for my new venture become a worthless pipe dream and remain a futile, impossible dream nine months later.

Stores sold out of meats, toilet paper, milk, hand sanitizer, liquid soap, and many other things.  Face-masks became impossible to buy.  Companies shifted work to remote, telling people to work from home.  Schools went virtual. People were scared. Life changed.

Shopping Malls, that once were packed on weekends were empty.

In an effort to fight the fear and depression people placed stuffed bears in windows.  These were for kids to walk the neighborhoods and go on “bear hunts”, looking for the animals in windows.  Some people put up their Christmas Lights trying to bring cheer.  To me it just made the weirdness of 2020 even more surreal.

Children and families drew chalk drawings on the streets and sidewalks in #ChalkTheWalk, a social media “event” to try to bring unity across the digital realms.  It was a spring and early summer like none before.  Life turned into a bad episode of the Twilight Zone.

During spring and summer Lily and I ventured out into the woods all around Middle Tennessee.  We searched out places with few people as reports of how the virus spread were confusing and the effects were still widely unknown.  We hiked many trails, seeing sites we had planned on seeing, but never made the time for before.  Dolly, our dog, loved these trips.  We talked almost daily with Rachel via facetime, often several times a day.  She was sequestered in her apartment in St Louis and seldom got out because of the stricter lock downs there.

Civil unrest was on the increase all across America with areas of many major cities burning.  Racial injustice was the battle cry for these protests. Violence begets violence and it spread from sea to shining sea.

As July turned into August, I saw a post on facebook from a friend asking if anyone would be interested in teaching photography at a local college.  I answered and started teaching a Sports Photography class at Nossi College of Art in Nashville.  I also got a call from an old friend who now works as the sports editor at a small weekly paper asking if I’d be interested in covering sports for him.  At least as summer turned into fall, I was working a little.  It lifted my spirits a bit and it was good to be doing what I love working with the Murfreesboro Post, and I found myself really enjoying teaching. 

November started with what will likely go down as one of the most contested, and corrupt, elections in American history.  The division created by this boondoggle, I fear, is driving a deep wedge into the fabric of our society that may be impossible to heal. 

Finally, as Christmas arrived in Nashville Peace and Love was replaced by fire and destruction with a bombing on Second Avenue in downtown.  Fortunately, no one was killed, just a few injuries.  The bomber played a recording telling people to evacuate the area, and the police responded quickly to evacuate everyone there.

2020 is passing into the history books, and judging by the desperation in people, the reports of a mutating virus that is more transmissible, and the anger here in the States, I do not see 2021 being any better.  I fear the violence will just increase and the hate will grow.

As far as what I am going to do.  I will go from one day to the next, putting one foot in front of the other.  As Churchill said: If you are going through hell, keep going.

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