Week 12 – Social Distancing Begins

This week I started teaching online for the first time. My school, like most others, turned all face-to-face classes online. Students could stay in the dorms if they chose and there was limited access to the library and other buildings.

By the end of the week, the university decided to send home all students left in the dorms, with only rare exceptions. And the campus was all but closed. Only faculty and staff can be on campus, for essential duties.

The first week went OK.

I was teaching all week about climate change and disease epidemics in an environmental history course. The students read a book on the Little Ice Age (roughly 1300-1850), a time with regular epidemics. Not hard to connect to current events.

By the end of the week, I was noticing the impact of not seeing my people. History department and archives colleagues. The historians had “coffee” together on Friday using Microsoft Teams. Not quite the same. But great nonetheless.

For pictures this week, I decided to go with what I have: What I can see from inside my house. Every day I’ve been outside, briefly. For a walk. To the grocery store, etc., for essentials. But what’s defined my experience is being at home. So this week’s pictures are about two things I found myself noticing. Great light, making sharp contrasts, as in the “cover” image for the post. And little things in the house.

Here are a few of the little things. Kleenex and light shining through a bottle of water. With the Kleenex, it was difficult to decide whether to go hard to see the edge or go soft to reflect the flimsy delicacy. I went black and white with the Kleenex because the color was distracting.

And some more play of light and shadow, in the kitchen. Again, the color was distracting, so B&W seemed the best.

I’m looking forward to seeing what next week brings. Curious and concerned about next week in the news and life; curious and challenged by figuring out how to renovate my environmental history class for online learning and to find more interesting light, shadow, and bits and pieces to “shoot” in my house.

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