All images “Untitled”
I am what is commonly known as a COVID “long hauler.” I have been sick since the start of the pandemic. A year in, I still continue to experience short-term memory loss, lack of focus and waves of fatigue. I have to work with an infectious disease specialist, gastroenterologist, neurologist, naturopath and acupuncturist. The impact of the virus lingers in my body and being. This is a frustrating process that I call the COVIDoldrums.
When the mayor of Los Angeles first closed the pools and gyms in March of 2020, I started walking in Elysian Park. This was also where I accessed a free COVID-19 public health testing site on March 24. And the park is where I returned once I finally had enough energy to take my first gentle, 15-minute walk during my initial recovery in April. Since then, regular walks in the park have become integral to my gradual recovery process. These walks are a lifesaver. They have slowly helped to rebuild my lung capacity and strengthen my spirit. As part of this walking practice, I use my phone to make pictures.
Elysian Park is a hilly beacon of 600 acres right in the heart of the city — free and accessible during daylight hours. Its trails, breezes and embrace are even more vital to the city’s wellness practices during the pandemic. It is a special place that has been invaluable to my own process of healing and creativity.
The raw, expansive park also offers the gift of images. Reminders of the pandemic are everywhere. The park is marked by people’s protection, care and affection, their protest and pleasure. I have been making pictures with my mobile phone during my walks. The images presence the virus’ impact on our lives, our impact on the park, and the persistence of the park’s land as a precious relation.