Disregarding the anthropological and scientific approaches to this matter, the effect of a quarantine on the average human being is quite jarring. Beyond the struggle to maintain motivation when encompassing everyday chores and tasks, even the most basic ones, is the struggle to maintain an earthly, logical flow of thought. 

I, myself, am someone who particularly enjoys — and needs — time completely alone. And that is how I am accustomed to carry life. However, spending so much time in one place, with little to no human interaction outside of this very small circle of people carries my mind to the furthest, most hallucinating, places. 

It is not quite loneliness, but solitude, that we are all engulfed in, and that might bring us to ponder on the outcome of this surrealistic world crisis, on its effects, and on further concerns as to how to endure it. And although I am here, miles away from my homeland, my culture, my language — things that I find are a fundamentally huge part of my identity — I find it difficult to focus on identity, as I observe the world in this particular moment.

There is something much greater, that surpasses this idea of identity, something immense to which we all pertain, that is the primary foundation of our very cores. And that becomes inevitable, and very much evident, in the situation we’re undergoing. 

My primary response to all of this is the same as to anything at all that I experience: melancholy. There is despair, certainly, and an utterly quenchless anxiety, there is even a touch of hopelessness, but there is also the fact that all I am left with is myself. And I strongly believe that that is a universal truth, an axiom, to all members of the human race. Filled with passion, yearnings, fears, and dreams, we all long for creating bonds with one another. And when we, jarringly, face the fact that that is not quite a possibility anymore, even for a short period of time, we stray away from our essence — or perhaps become closer to it. 

The pictures taken by the Italian photographer Lucia Buricelli during her self-isolation (included below) are, despite being very simple and objective, very much expressive of being left with yourself. There is such a great amount of melancholy in those simple things she depicts, and I’m afraid that such a fact is inexplicable. For even though the pictures are colorful, calm, and even bring an idea of beauty, they just feel lonely. 

Yes, there are people undergoing unimaginable misery in a time such as this —  experiencing loss and therefore that irreconcilable pain we all have, or are bound to, experience. And there are those who have not any resources; those undergoing famine and other horrible things that exist — which is made evident — by this crisis. 

But I do believe each and every person is suffering to some degree, because the most primary source of fear is the unknown. And these are times of complete uncertainty, of no answers to all these questions that begin to appear. 

5:56 P.M. Working on the computer – Lucia Buricelli for TIME

Although we cannot see her face with much detail in the picture of her by the computer desk, there is an inherent sense of exhaustion present in Lucia Buricelli’s countenance. And we can all relate to that state of being. It is also visible that she is working, which shows her effort, and all of our efforts, to somewhat keep an adherence to everyday life and responsibilities, whether those encompass studying, grading essays, writing articles, or teaching unexpected online classes.

The aspect of the room, albeit sufficiently tidy, paired with the twilight, brings an idea of worn-outness. Maintaining physical and mental health is especially difficult now. 

In conclusion, it becomes clear to me that humanity is in fact one. And despite all the insistent, stubborn, differences between all cultures, it is absolutely evident that, as I previously stated, we pertain to something much greater — before which these aspects have no importance. And I see so much beauty in that.

Photos below from “This Italian Photographer Is Documenting Her Life in the Coronavirus Lockdown” (LIFE magazine): https://time.com/5807210/italy-coronavirus-lockdown-photos/ 

7:58 A.M. Waking up after turning off at least ten alarms
11:04 A.M. Trying to iron my clothes
2:20 P.M. Eating pasta

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  1. This situation leads us to the timeless and supreme beauty of finding ourselves. And also to the irrational and enormous fear of doing this. Beauty must feed us to face fear. With gentle determination and self-acceptance. It is a good opportunity to breathe love. Cosmic-universal love.

  2. Identity stripped of all the usual – language, culture, even “earthly rhythm.” Thank you for describing your time in Space so well.

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