Thoughts on Lockdown: Suffocation

A note: Starting April 6 and moving into the foreseeable future, I’m going to be sharing my thoughts on lockdown — along with a random photo from more carefree days. Thanks for joining me on this journey.

tuscany italy

For at least 23 hours a day, the walls of our apartment separate us from the outside world. Three rooms. Two bathrooms. One hallway. This is the small, physical, confined world we live in now.

We are luckier than other people. We have windows and sunlight. Somewhere to sleep. Somewhere to be. We have a space with a door that can be closed — a way to be in here so we can keep the coronavirus out there.

Yet, even as we move between our rooms, soak in the sunshine warming the balcony, and walk up and down the hallway, I often feel trapped. It’s impossible to know how close to our front door this invisible virus lingers. So here we stay, for at least 23 hours a day.

Five days a week we take a walk through the nearby neighborhood. One day a week, we walk to the nearby grocery store — about a mile round-trip walk. And on Sundays, we take our “long” walk to the slightly larger grocery store, perhaps a mile in each direction.

But when we leave the house now, we have to wear a mask. It’s part of the Ukrainian guidelines that mask-wearing is required in public spaces. I respect and appreciate that. After all, we’re all in this together.

We’ve chosen to make our own masks from bandanas and rubber bands. They’re snug over our faces. My nose always feels a little mushed. It’s hard to breathe, especially on our longer walks. They eventually get warm and humid.

We can walk out our front door, but in my mask, I still feel confined.

As we all practice social distancing and self-isolation, the pandemic holds us all prisoner. We’re locked away in our homes and stuck behind our masks. We’re trapped in our heads and held back from other people. We can’t travel beyond the borders — or even more than a few miles on foot.

For now, we suffocate, not knowing when we can breathe easy again.

About this photo:

I went to Tuscany, Italy, a few years ago for work. Even though I was “on” almost 24 hours a day for a whole week, I was so thankful to enjoy moments like this — even just briefly. I know there are so many small towns like this one all across Tuscany. I can’t wait to return on my own some day to hike, drink the local wine, and soak in these lovely scenes again.

Read more Thoughts on Lockdown:

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