Sunday, March 15, 2020. We knew what was coming. We knew what COVID-19 had done in other countries, what it was doing in other parts of our own country. San Francisco had been on lockdown for a while. New York City was about to follow suit, sort of, if it hadn't already. Death was burning its way through nursing homes in Washington and California. The dying had already begun elsewhere, on a scale so small it seems laughable now. Perhaps 150 deaths altogether attributed to COVID-19 in the U.S. by March 15. A far cry from the 100,000 milestone we probably crossed today.
It was St. Patrick's Day weekend. A few days early; the day itself wouldn't be until Tuesday, March 17. But that didn't prevent people from celebrating that weekend, despite the threat posed by the virus, despite the warnings. Some chose to stay home and stay safe, only to find themselves mingling with partygoers when they returned to work on Monday - most workplaces hadn't closed yet. (My own workplace wouldn't close down until March 20.)
|I couldn't get a fix on the March 15 data point. By March 18 the U.S. had 189 cumulative deaths attributed to COVID-19.|
They were. We had a bumper crop this year: over a dozen purple crocuses, at least one yellow crocus, and a brilliant white crocus that had sprouted up away from all the others. I took numerous photos to share with my mom, to give her a taste of a world she was now locked away from.
The photo at the top of this post is the last photo of that set. The purple and yellow crocuses form a dim background against the granite base of the family tombstone, almost like a tapestry or set painting. The white crocus shines like a brilliant promise of better things to come.
The crocuses are all dead now. The flowering bits, at least. The underground parts are waiting to come back next year. Since that time, nearly 100,000 other Americans have died. Now, without any justification, there's a huge push to reopen, to return to normalcy. "Enough is enough, reopen now!" is the rallying cry. Soon, I fear, the 100,000 dead will seem as quaint and small as the number of deaths on March 15, barely seventy-five days ago.