Cows graze in a pasture while waiting for their morning feeding on my family’s farm in Simpsonville, South Carolina. Growing concern over the coronavirus often feels distant to me out here, where life has continued to remain the same.
SIMPSONVILLE, S.C. – It’s not hard to comply with social distancing guidelines when your home is already fairly isolated. I live on family farmland that we’ve owned for generations, complete with a water wheel my great-great-grandfather built to harness energy from our creek. My only neighbors within eyesight are my grandparents.
Our daily lives haven’t changed all that much – cows need to be fed and chickens need to be watered regardless of whether there’s a global pandemic. Constant tasks like this serve as anchors in everyday life.
I haven’t lost anything but closure due to COVID-19. I’m a person who’s incredibly privileged to have two homes, with two work spaces, with two reliable internet connections. I’m typing this from a sofa, while wearing pajamas and drinking my third coffee of the day.
When I left campus March 6 for spring break, I didn’t take extra time to say goodbye to my friends, or even to grab the snacks on my desk in our newsroom. None of us knew we wouldn’t be returning, that South Carolina colleges and universities would be closed for the rest of the semester.
The uncertainties and unknowns are what I wrestle with now. Text messages have streamed in from my friends at UofSC, Clemson University and Anderson University, all processing events they had planned that were now canceled.
The best way I know how to combat the unknown is to focus on what I can do, not what I can’t. I can still go for a run outside with my dad (staying six feet away from other runners). I can still treat myself to Chick-fil-A (through the drive-thru). I can still go to the church I’ve attended for almost 21 years (online).
I hadn’t planned to attend my college graduation because of an internship in Germany starting May 8. It’s more likely now that I will make the rescheduled graduation ceremony than my flight to Europe. When that ceremony will be – and when I’ll see my friends and newsroom colleagues again – is anybody’s guess.