Tiny Coronavirus Stories: ‘That release will be harder’

Reader-submitted stories of the COVID-19 pandemic, in no more than 100 words. Read past stories hereSubmit your own here.

My place

2020 was supposed to be my time to explore more and wonder about my place. My country. My being. My life. I was to embark on living overseas, in a new career, moving from health into education. But instead of imagining riding the Oxfordshire countryside into a classroom of young faces, my reality: preparing to work in the ICU with ongoing COVID updates. What 2020 has brought forward is that my place is based on my assessment and appreciation of a situation, then my choice in my action to improve it. I feel lucky to have learnt this useful life lesson.

— Jessica Yamin (Melbourne, Australia)

This is one of the art activities, based on my studies in education, that I organized for my workplace to bring mindfulness into the hospital during this time.

* * *

Twelve Days of Christmas (a remix)

On the 62nd day of isolation, COVID-19 gave to me:

176 coffees drunk
64 dog walks
17 board game nights
9 books read
7 TV seasons binged…

Some viewed this as an opportunity to get fit, to order their lives, to revel in uncertainty. For me, reality has paled in comparison. No great novels were written. No entrepreneurial businesses were created.

But I’ve never been more thankful for health, for simplicity. I didn’t realize how little I call my grandparents. Or how peaceful the city looks with no one around, with only the sky dragging its weary feet until nightfall.

— Xanthe Muston (Sydney, Australia)

A watercolor I painted of an empty Town Hall.

* * *

Adrift in a Timeless Sea

The world quiets. We pull back into ourselves. This too is medicine for what shadows our health. Waking each day to a gift of time and the news that for others time is up. We have been heedlessly poisoning our planet for our convenience and comfort. Now we are ill and she breathes easier; skies clearing across the globe. Nature rises and blooms for us. It is time to return the gift. We can change for the better. The future is now.

— Dana Simson (Maddux Island, Maryland)

“Adrift in a Timeless Sea,” from The Animals Are Innocent.

* * *

You Can Go Home Again

An “empty nester” no more, my twins back home. I’ve gotten good at crises. Facing fears and unknowns. My children just four when their dad was murdered in the 9/11 attacks.

This plight is tougher. They should be out socializing, working, finding more of themselves. It’s a pandemic, where else should they be? Precious time back for us three. Re-bonding. My privilege to show up, yet this crisis is really testing my proclivity to keep my energy upbeat.

Playing together each day, till I can resend them into the world. Again. That release will be harder than the first time.

— Lisa Paterson (Hudson Valley, New York)

Having hope on our hikes.


This series is edited by Thomas Peterson. One of the editors of Artists & Climate Change, he is also a theatre director and researcher whose work focuses on the climate crisis.

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