Touching Ground

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Touching Ground

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This photograph is of my feet, buried in the sand and rocks of the beach of Lake Michigan, on the coast of Port Washington.
Covid-19 affected so many areas of our lives in 2020, and in so many ways, that it can be hard to pin down which loss was the worst. Like many others, the sense I missed the most over the course of that long year was that of touch: physical contact with family, the cool water of the public pool, the slap of bare feet on pavement, dust coated legs on a school field trip. Over time, so many little touches were lost that it began to feel as though I was untethered, floating free in space in my little bubble of house-kids-spouse-pets. The cozy feeling of my rocking chair, the heavy press of my son on my lap and the rasp of my dog's coat against my knee became the only thing I registered, my little space-ship in this weird galaxy of loneliness created by Covid-19.
In August I left the house for the first time in far too long, headed for the abandoned shoreline of a nearby coast town, desperate to feel connected to anything outside my little bubble. I stood there, feeling the spray of the water on my ankles, the grit of the sand and rocks between my toes, the sun on my face and the wind against my skin. In these feelings I was reconnected, I was present once again, my tether to this beautiful world damaged but intact.

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This item was submitted on July 1, 2021 by Valerie Gilbertson using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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