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© Marybeth Haas

Covid Spring, Hastings 2020

As the nation begins to ease out of strict lockdown, Marybeth Haas reflects in images on the juxtaposition of the pandemic forcing our habits to change alongside the unstoppable unfolding of Spring. She sees the pandemic as an opportunity for people to reflect, question and to allow more of their own true nature to come to the forefront, to reassess priorities and to  choose healthier ways of being.

The first buds on an apple tree on 20 March and signs on library computers two days before the UK enters lockdown.

© Marybeth Haas

© Marybeth Haas

At this time things are changing rapidly: while I am at the library on what feels like a routine visit, my awareness of the virus still in the background, we are told that this is the last day the library will be open for the foreseeable future, rendering these signs, which have only just been put in place, out of date.

© Marybeth Haas

© Marybeth Haas

Late March, signage in local shops, apple buds emerging and acer leaves unfurling in the long awaited sunshine in the garden, where I am suddenly able and willing to spend a lot more time.

© Marybeth Haas

© Marybeth Haas

Early April’s supermoon super-low tide draws people to the beach where an extreme sense of space allows easy social distancing while feeling connected through the shared experience of this natural phenomenon which allowed those of us willing to get wet legs a rare opportunity to wade right around Hastings Pier.

© Marybeth Haas

By mid April, social distancing is the new norm, finding us all queuing with two metres between us to get into banks and food shops, sometimes causing stress but mostly finding people calm, accepting and considerate of one another.

© Marybeth Haas

© Marybeth Haas

Meanwhile, we are lucky that pollinators are out in force.

© Marybeth Haas

© Marybeth Haas

© Marybeth Haas

© Marybeth Haas

Many people are finding it hard to stay indoors when the weather is irresistibly perfect for a game of socially distanced football.

© Marybeth Haas

Late April: town centre streets remain empty with most shops closed and those that are open continue with reduced hours and carry covid warning signs and instructions.

© Marybeth Haas

© Marybeth Haas

© Marybeth Haas

Many households have decorated their windows with rainbows to show gratitude and solidarity for all those providing essential services during this time.
Some neighbourhoods have been spreading joy and playfulness by putting bears in their windows to be enjoyed by passersby on their daily walks.

© Marybeth Haas

 

© Marybeth Haas

While many would not have been able to go out to enjoy them, the bluebells continue their heady scented displays. The other than human world is thriving while we are forced to slow down.

© Marybeth Haas

© Marybeth Haas

In early May, I’m enjoying one food outlet creatively tempting shoppers by lining the path to their food hall with mannequins dressed in this year’s fashion, finishing the display with a winding underwear queueing system.

© Marybeth Haas

I’m also feeling grateful for the opportunity to spend more time getting up close to the multitude of wildlife thriving in my neighbourhood and for the spirit of Hastings determined to find ways to enjoy the annual Jack in the Green festival despite extreme limitations.

© Marybeth Haas

© Marybeth Haas

© Marybeth Haas

© Marybeth Haas

VE Day 75th anniversary Bank Holiday sees decorated homes and neighbours enjoying distance doorstep dining with new friends.

© Marybeth Haas

© Marybeth Haas

As we tentatively shift from strictly ‘stay home’ to a slightly more relaxed if not entirely clear ‘stay alert’ in mid May, neighbours continue to come out every Thursday evening to chat and clap in appreciation of key workers.

© Marybeth Haas

More people are seen out in town though we are still unable to sit with others or relax on a bench and we are reminded just how fragile life can be.

© Marybeth Haas

© Marybeth Haas

The weather continues to be warm and sunny, wildlife is flourishing in reduced pollution mitigated by global lockdown,  and long queues of people form outside recently reopened DIY shops.

© Marybeth Haas

© Marybeth Haas

By the end of May, starlings nesting in a nearby wall have fledged young and proud parents preen their glistening wings in the persistent blue sky before starting again with a new brood.

© Marybeth Haas

And our beaches are getting so busy that  social distancing is becoming harder to discern.

© Marybeth Haas

At the time of writing, the weather is changing and I hope we will get some  substantial rain because we’ve had very little in Hastings since lockdown began. We understandably enjoy the sunshine after a record breaking wet winter but I can’t help noticing that the land is dry.

These extremes remind me that while we have had to attend to a global pandemic, which I and many others see as nature’s wake up call for us to change, we remain in the midst of a multitude of environmental crises which also require us to urgently change our behaviours even more than the virus has forced us to already.

Can we use our increased feeling of community to inspire us to create a new normal that prioritises living in harmony with our environment, each other and all of life?

© Marybeth Haas

More images on Conscious Arts Photography and  instagram

 

Posted 16:47 Saturday, Jun 6, 2020 In: Covid-19

2 Comments

Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

  1. Chris Coombes

    Thank you, Marybeth.

    You have with photographs and words rightly reminded us of our fragility. Never did we think our lives would be so in danger.

    It now levels us with nature that we have been so unwilling to protect.

    Comment by Chris Coombes — Tuesday, Jun 9, 2020 @ 10:31

  2. Jennifer

    This is a beautiful journey through recent events, stirring very mixed emotions. There was the strangest sense of nature doing what nature does, whilst our human world shut down. Marybeth has captured this most poignantly.

    Comment by Jennifer — Saturday, Jun 6, 2020 @ 19:38

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