One Year Reflection

A look back as we hit the one year anniversary of quarantine

Clarion photo Owen Fetherston
Due to the recent order for social distancing last spring, signs like this were put up in every grocery store across Portland.

As many know, we have recently passed the one year mark since that all but predictable start to quarantine last spring. Things have changed so much for just about everyone all across the world. From the panic to buy toilet paper, to a social justice uprising across the country. It’s safe to say that there is no going back to what life was like before 2020, even if we can finally take off the masks.

However, this past year has not been all bad; it is a great idea for people to look back and find those little nuggets of good times. For me, those good times start with buying my first camera. My whole life I’ve always been into photography but never put the effort (or money) to actually get a dedicated camera. So when I finally bought one, you could say that I absolutely lost my mind in excitement!

Throughout all of last year I’ve been dedicating much of my time into photography, learning things like what settings to shoot, how to post-process, and what I need to do so that I’m prepared in the field. Without quarantine, I’m not sure I’d have all of that spare time at home to do the research that built a solid foundation for my skills today.

Moving to summertime, things were looking quite hectic, due to a widespread realisation of the systematic racism in America and there was a huge uprising. Which to say the least, did quite a lot in terms of our historical streak of the eventful year. It made many people reflect on the things they let slide, the injustices towards others, or the injustice towards themselves and their community.

When the protests started to die down in the fall, as the presidential campaigns began to flow into mainstream media, it felt like a storm of huge proportions was raging in everyone’s direction. Looking back on it, I see it as the third wave of unrest in our country: first the panic of Covid in spring, then the social justice movement in the summer, and now a historical election.

At this point there was so much confusion and polarization within our country, I don’t even want to get into it. The way I see it we all know what happened and aren’t in need of reminding anytime soon. Among the things that were happening on a national scale, it was important to take a break, to get away from it all. So in mid-July last summer that is precisely what my family did. We took a long-anticipated backpacking trip through some of the most beautiful and rugged mountains we had ever seen.

We spent a few days camped out near a lake that stretched for two miles, 10 miles up the trail in pristine Washington wilderness. It was probably one of my favorite trips ever and it was truly amazing to forget about how messed up everything was, just for a few days. The only thing I could think of were the massive mountains, beautiful wildflowers, and pristine lakes that surrounded me everyday of that trip. Even though it is important to acknowledge that a lot of people are not in a situation where they can just run off into nature for a few days, I say to those who can: please do it! So much panic and anxiety has rattled our lives we need to take time for ourselves, whether that be taking a break from technology and going for a walk, or running off into the distant mountain ranges for much needed peace and quiet.

To wrap up this reflection over the past year, I’ve dug up some photos I took in March of 2020, just after the quarantine went into full effect. To me it feels so surreal that it has already been a whole year since everything started. Although it is certainly a very grim milestone, there is a sense of hope. I am sure that after all of this is over, if we do ever get back to some shape or form of normalcy, many of us will be much stronger and wiser. Plus, we should all get a medal for getting this far right? But honestly, it is pretty amazing that so many people have made it through so much. So I wish to everyone the best of luck as we continue on this most unpredictable journey.