Relocation in Isolation, Reconnection in Solitude


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Relocation in Isolation, Reconnection in Solitude

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When Covid first kicked off, I was in the final months of my undergraduate degree, weeks away from obtaining my B.A. in history from CSU Stanislaus in December 2020. I had made plans to travel and work in Japan, teaching English, doing cultural work, and generally immersing myself into the culture I found so fascinating in my studies. However, the world's shutdown would put an end (or a pause) to this plan. Now working remotely from home, I stayed in my room working on my senior thesis, looking out the window to the often empty street. My family had decided to move, as we had decided years before but loose ends such as my degree were the final threads to be cut. Remote work had given us an unexpected leap in our time-frame, and so in the midst of the Paradise fires, to which I vividly remember the dark orange skies blotting out the sun and the ever present ashy, smoky stench on the air, carried by the warm breeze from the north, we began the process of transitioning our lives to be on the road, and to be resettled in northern Idaho.

For the next year and a half or so we settled in to our new home, however the world was still largely in lock-down, and so I spent most of my time inside or in the basement where I had set up a study space to finish my senior thesis and to earn my degree through my last online semester. It was a self reflective and solitary time, in which I would often take many breaks to venture out my backdoor, which quite literally lead into the forest. Not fifty feet from my home, we have a circle of trees where we would eventually put a fire pit and often sit around together around the warmth on cold nights, talking and sharing fun with one another. When alone however, it serves as an incredible spot to simply sit back and become immersed into our natural world, an amenity I often take advantage of to this day while working on my M.A. through ASU's online program. This audio recording is a sample of that, and in it, you can hear the spring time birds chirping away, the low rumble of the highway just over the mountain, feel the breeze through the trees and the valleys from the lake, and imagine the smell of pine and flowers on the forest floor.

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This item was submitted on May 26, 2022 by Brendan Sutton using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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