Place and Possibility

Ann Arbor Liberty Street - Free Stock Photo - Easy Download
Liberty Street in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
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When the state lockdown began last March, I stayed at home for a couple weeks, and then, I felt the need to drive around town. Specifically, I was missing the University of Michigan campus. At this time, much was still unknown about COVID, and we weren’t even wearing masks yet. I didn’t get out of my car, but instead, I drove through the streets. And… they were empty. I thought this might cheer me up, but it made me really sad.

I had to drop something off at someone’s house yesterday, so I got in my car and drove through a variety of neighborhoods in Ann Arbor. After experiencing the heartache of Wednesday’s insurrection, something I will continue to feel in waves alongside others, I may have needed to feel something hopeful. I don’t know what it was, but suddenly, emotion washed over me with the recognition that in a few months, I will likely be vaccinated, and… I may be able to experience this town again (still, with a mask). Its places… Its people… The thought of experiencing public spaces again, even with precautions, filled me with such gratitude.

I needed this.

I’m not pollyanna about anything underway. I feel hope about the vaccines, but I also know we are deeply in the throes of COVID-19. It’s devastating. More than 300,000 people were newly diagnosed on Friday. This is hard to fathom.

I do not mean to dismiss this or the deep grief and dismay of this week. But I needed that moment of place and possibility.

Renee Roederer

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