Last night, my wife and I went to see Jonathan Russell perform at the Dreamland Theatre here on Nantucket. We have seen Jonathan and his band, The Head and the Heart, play many times before.
But this show was different. It was our first time seeing an in person live performance (of any kind) since 2019. I suspect that was true for many/most of everyone else in attendance. Right away, you could feel the excitement and energy with the audience even before he took the stage. Everyone had a smile on but keenly aware of this moment.
And it was also Jonathan’s first in person live performance. He talked openly about coping with the pandemic as a musician and what it’s been like for him. I can’t imagine someone who has sold out large venues felt playing in front of a small audience in some small town after 20 months. You could feel his anxiety and nerves and he said as much over and over again. It was one of the most vulnerable, intense shows I’ve ever been to. So many emotions washing over us all — audience and artist alike. All the sorrow and pain we have shared collectively and alone in our thoughts.
The musical performance was beautiful. Jonathan is getting older. He wears glasses to read. He face has signs of aging. But his voice and art remains something truly special and I’m grateful we had the opportunity to catch his first gig since 2019.
But earlier this year, my therapist suggested I keep a journal and so I’ve been doing just that.
I started keeping everything in a field notes book but I felt too vulnerable — like I would lose it or someone would find it and read all about my innermost thoughts.
I still write in my paper based notebook every day but for notes during various meetings, scribbling down to do lists and jotting down ideas while they are still fresh.
But for daily journaling and keeping a diary of sorts, I switched to Day One. It’s super clean makes it super easy to write down thoughts during the day. It also makes sense of your unorganized and often overlooked mobile photographs. And it’s all secure with end to end encryption. Best of all (I think) the company behind Day One was recently acquired by Automatic.
And if there is one company I trust with this sort of product, it’s got to be Automatic.
As vaccines are being widely deployed in the United States, it seems as the volume of harsh rhetoric these days demonizing “the other” side’s response to the current state of the pandemic is rising.
On one side, if you will, some are being exceptionally cruel towards folks that are genuinely nervous and scared about the Covid19 vaccine. These hesitant people are not one monolithic demographic. Each has its own set of concerns. It could be religious. Or they would rather see more data. Or they have a medical situation. Or they want to wait until the vaccines are no longer part of the emergency exemption program, or frankly they have been given false information. I encourage you to listen to this recent podcast on the Daily for those of you frustrated by vaccine-hesitant folks.
Yet another other side is demonizing vaccinated folks for wearing a mask outside. But we don’t know their story either. We don’t know if they lost loved ones during this pandemic. We don’t know if they are actually vaccinated. We don’t know if they have other life stress in their lives. We don’t know if they have been dealing with misinformation.
While we don’t know the stories that each of us is carrying, we know one thing very well. Our society and planet have suffered so much loss and pain during this pandemic. Every day we have beared witness to the loss of life and economic devastation. We suffered while a former President continuously denied the virus threat while knowing the absolute truth back in February 2020. We have experienced a deep and widespread collective trauma.
This pandemic has reminded us that we are all in this together, that we need each other more than ever, that we are deeply connected. And thankfully we have seen countless examples of people and communities stepping up to help each other.
Let’s all give each other a little more patience and support as we enter the next phase of this process. Be kind.
(full disclosure: I am fully vaccinated as well and so is my wife. Two of our adult kids are fully vaccinated and our youngest will hopefully get his first injection in the coming days).
The off season on this little island is my favorite. Each Spring is quite magical as the daffodils appear seemingly out of nowhere, the birds return, the afternoon light hits different, and the island is still quiet just before summer.
(All photographs made with a Mamiya 7ii and Kodak Portra 400. Developed and scanned by FW Photo Lab in Texas)