A Summer Missed

There is no adequate way to describe what was missed this summer. The societal upheaval caused by Covid-19 turned the world upside down, leaving hardly anyone untouched. Nothing about this summer was “normal,” and nothing about our current reality is either.

While brainstorming ideas for this piece, I struggled to balance notions of the negative and the positive—I didn’t want to solely write about everything that was missed or the unsurmountable loss that has taken place. But I also didn’t want to only talk about the silver-linings that came out of a global pandemic. That felt grossly out of touch. I kept returning to this idea of balancing the good and the bad —not letting one overshadow the other.

The truth is, working to balance all the good that life has to offer with all the bad isn’t exclusive to life during Covid-19; that’s just life. Right now, the bad is amplified under the microscope of our current moment, tipping the scale towards despair rather than optimism.

I think it is courageous to actively seek out hope in a world that currently feels like one very bad thing after another. Personally, I struggle with this because I often fear that embracing the good demonstrates a willful ignorance of all that is not. When this fear creeps in, I come back to this quote from Howard Zinn’s book, You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train:

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. 

If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. 

The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.” 

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives.

If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future.

The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”

Howard Zinn

And so, in an effort to live in defiance of the bad and to recapture some of the summer fun we all missed, here is a glimpse into our lost yearbook. The following are Armour’s musings about this summer: A summer of isolation and fear, but also of rest, connection, and believing in the future.

Photographs&Collage Ray McIntyre
Words Alaina Baumohl
Editor Haley Harris

Armour Magazine Season 25 — F/S 2020

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