Guest post by Jonna Huseman

How has your life changed since the community has been impacted by Coronavirus?
Well, I’m not going to evening meetings in the community, so our evenings at home are more pleasurable.

Are you working more or less?
I lead a local tech user group that helps people use technology, and our meetings have gone virtual.
 
What are you most afraid of?
That we’ll lose the will to tackle the inequalities that are in such clear view during the pandemic. 

What are you most hopeful for?
That the cohesiveness that most people in the country now feel, that we’re all really in this together, will in some way carry forward after the pandemic recedes.  

What has been the most challenging part of this experience for you?
Most challenging has been to shun people, when I naturally gravitate toward people. So while walking or biking, staying far away I say “greetings, from a social distance!”

Is there anything—even a tiny thing—you enjoy or like about sheltering in place?
The creativity that’s emerged across the world from the pandemic sequestering just lights me up. I’ve noticed or added to things like this thread by tech writer Lauren Goode, or this stray thing, or this fun one by David Pogue, or the companies acting like community members in pandemic times. 

What do you think society as a whole will learn from this experience?
How resilient we all are; how nature, the spring profusion of, is much larger than the pandemic; and the lighter carbon and pollution load from the pandemic sequestering—how we can bring everything back, but in ways lighter on the carbon output? 

How are you coping with stress/taking care of yourself?
Well, I’m now one of the new bread bakers—that’s a lot of fun. Wasn’t going to go the sourdough way, but a civic neighbor put baggies of sourdough starter on his porch, so now I have a jar in the fridge! My wife and I are doing online exercise classes. A woman in my neighborhood who had extra flour also participated in the exercise class, so biked over to pick it up!  

I bike around Silver Spring to pick up meals from our local small restaurants. And yesterday, a WPCA neighbor bought a box of wine for us and dropped it off, for Venmo pay. Finally, we had a great early delivery by Denizen’s #beermobile, and soon will tap AstroLab and Silver Branch!  

When future generations ask, what will you tell them about this time in your life?
That we were unfortunate to have national political leadership that wasn’t up to the task, but fortunate to have local and state leadership that filled the vacuum. That the resilience and creativity exposed by the pandemic was heartening. That the inequalities more visibly exposed during the pandemic prodded us to action.

What would you like your friends and neighbors in Silver Spring/Montgomery County to know?
I couldn’t be prouder of how our local community has come together; e.g. almost organically, on each of the close-by civic email groups, efforts to gather food and materials for Shepherd’s Table. Then how many thousands of Chromebooks did MCPS (Montgomery County Public Schools) distribute to try to mitigate the digital divide?

Jonna Huseman is a family photographer who serves Silver Spring and beyond. During the COVID-19 crisis, she is using her free time to document the lives of friends and neighbors living through the pandemic.

Author’s note: Over the coming days and weeks I am documenting the lives of dozens of members of the Silver Spring and Takoma Park community. My goal is to talk to teachers and students, religious leaders, small business owners, frontline workers, parents, elected leaders, and private citizens. I want to learn about our collective hopes and dreams, our biggest challenges, and our greatest triumphs. Mostly, I want to build connection and create community at a time when we need it the most.

Life in the Time of the Coronavirus: Voices from Silver Spring—Jonathan Bernstein