The MainSheet would like to encourage anyone with something to say about their experience during this time to submit their writing to editor@capecod.edu for review for this column. We’re all in this together!

 

The Brilliant, Yellow Bulbs of a Stranded Salamander in the Nocuous Frost

The frigid air started to fiddle with my senses as my two Scottish Terriers managed to jet out of the back-slider door to our backyard. My eyes were tied to the firm, ferociously frigid ground– it seemed to {“type”:”block”,”srcClientIds”:[“bd44128f-9f1f-4ef9-af0f-0ebf6de116ee”],”srcRootClientId”:””}be scarcely cordial and pliable at all, now that the end of November blew in. The guile of the insolent volley between the cold and warm temperatures made an uncertain heart. It exceeds my control. So much confusion has been coiled around the collective heart and it jostles my mind all the time. My breath blooms in the stiff air, this season’s only growth, as my dogs were racing toward the top left corner of the fence to peek at my neighbor’s black Labradoodle.     

A mere few feet away from the tall evergreen that our white fence embraced was a black mass with yellow speckles all over its body dragging itself languidly. I accepted the yellow’s admonition of prominent poison, but there seemed to be beauty in its poisonous pool of life. It had no definition from my eyes’ current placement, so I ventured toward it. I must know what it is! The frail black mass was a spotted salamander. This poor amphibian was so flummoxed by the flux in the temperature that it decided to regard the spasmodic climbs to the fifties and sixties as spring’s heartening presence. Kneeling on the ground and adjusting my head so my eyes could invite its eyes to ineluctable care, it became clear that it had a pittance of vitality left. I have to help it somehow! The ebbing enthusiasm in its eyes, which were fastened to the ground unwillingly, made my eyes spill tears. It is dying in the clutter of orange pine needles and strands of grass that are glued to its slimy skin!

Even though my dogs had been occupied by the faint barks in the vicinity, I ushered them to enter the house so I may tend to the salamander’s sepulchral slip. “Good boys! Here are a few cookies,” I said while tossing a few of the round beige cookies into their mouths. I rushed toward the slider door before they would try to escape to the backyard again.

Within the change of my composure, I rendered a plan that could salvage its life. On the left side of my house rests an outdoor rack full of shovels and many gardening tools. I hastily hefted the nearest shovel to race to the salamander’s side, whose resting spot had been five feet away from the edge of the back-right part of the fence. The suitable solution fell in the shroud of extraneous greenery, which is beneath the other tall evergreen trees that stand behind the incumbent barrier. I jostled the ground to scoop up this lanky life. The front limbs were being enacted again! Thank goodness! The relief rescued my paralyzed mind. “What are you doing?” My sister shouted this, thinking, at that moment, that I must be such a peculiar older sister, which has always been true in every regard. “I’m trying to save this stranded salamander!” I annunciated this with great force as the salamander’s transition needed to be graceful. We returned to our disparate tasks.

After the successful scoop, I planted him in that shroud, hoping the auspicious abundance could revitalize this dying amphibian. I think I shall check on him in an hour, but I have given it complete care through its profound stare into death.            

Alexandria Zine

Loose Looks in Retail and Beyond

As I perused every clotheshorse in Dedham’s Gap retail store, I noticed that certain parts of the initial COVID-19 protocols were no longer being utilized. Earlier this year, every employee had to wear gloves but that is no longer a requirement. There is also less rigidity when it comes to how many people walk toward the back of the story to access the fitting rooms. Initially, only about three to four customers could use the fitting rooms, and many of the rooms were sealed off to ensure that customers could socially distance. Since the month of November has been the big reveal of the nationwide surge in COVID-19 contractions and losses, I feel that every store will fasten their COVID-19 guidelines– many already have. Despite the fact that many conglomerates are currently embracing some flexibility, many have remained the same or collected even more stringencies.

Sifting through the vibrant winter pullover sweaters and cardigans, an elderly woman gravitated toward the rack and center table that I had been at. She walked drawly to the sweaters, wearing baggy light wash jeans and a thin navy-blue coat. For her COVID-19 armor, she had a pair of navy-blue latex gloves and the ubiquitous baby blue surgical mask. I withdrew from this area to allow her to shop with greater peace. I gazed at the seasonal faux leather bags that were hanging on a fixture about ten feet away from her to pass the time. In addition to two pairs of jeans, she grabbed a beige wool sweater with a high neck and a black chenille sweater.

It took around five to six minutes before she made it to the queue by the registers when she cut in front of a mother and her daughter. The mother and daughter pair were aware of her actions but said absolutely nothing. If they did, it was certainly inaudible. When the elderly woman decided to supersede the customers, who were already set in the line, she was merely about a foot away from them. For someone of her age who was donning the full COVID-19 gear, I did not suspect that she would do something so brazen. I thought she would socially-distance herself at all times. I suppose her resolve to save time outweighs the risk of contracting the virus, which leads flagrant risks such as this. Sometimes, the collective perception of COVID-19 has no clarity. 

-Alexandria Zine

Grateful for thanksgiving break

Thanksgiving is quite possibly my favorite holiday. The communion that the meal provides is the best holiday experience of them all, aside from Christmas. One of the quintessential traditions around this time of year is Thanksgiving football. This also unites all of us in a great communal experience annually. During the autumnal season, my family and I visit Plymouth to check out the Plantation and the Mayflower. It is great to have all of this history right in our own backyard, as Thanksgiving is certainly the hallmark of the fall season. It means a lot to my family and I, which makes this a strange year for our usual plans and festivities. It is unfortunate that we cannot gather due to the pandemic.

Being a history major and a big history buff, I think it is astounding to have such a major event in our country’s history right next door. Some people may not know that the Mayflower first landed in Provincetown with the first land that the Pilgrims explored being the outer arm of the Cape. First Encounter Beach in Eastham is the location where the Pilgrims initially encountered the Nauset tribe of Native Americans. The Mayflower Compact, an integral document in our country’s history as well as the first mention of self-government in the New World, was signed in Provincetown Harbor. One of my history teachers at Sturgis has been a Pilgrim re-enactor for some time and my dad has also worked with a woman who was a re-enactor. Despite the tendency that people in New England have to overlook Thanksgiving, it is a major event in our country that has had lasting repercussions over time.

The facet I am most fond of regarding Thanksgiving is the food. While we watch the Macy’s Parade in the morning, my mom always makes pumpkin muffins and cranberry walnut bread for breakfast. This remains to be one of my favorite family traditions. My dad is in charge of the turkey, which is always stellar. On the other hand, my mom makes exceptional mashed potatoes, which is my favorite part of the main meal. For dessert, hot pumpkin pie with cold vanilla ice cream is my favorite, too. The convergence of family and our experiences is also significant to me. Despite having a rather small family, we manage to see people who are visiting from out of state frequently, which is always a splendid occurrence. I’m not sure how we are going to get around it this year, but we need to find some way to include people who fall outside of the bubble that consists of our immediate family.

-Ian Cole

The Patriots Press on Past the Jets and Ravens

The Patriot’s season has been a bit rough so far. The loss of Tom Brady was devastating for me and accepting that reality has been arduous for me. As of recently, I think I have started to come to terms with it! I was extremely worried going into last week’s game against the Jets due to the combination of Joe Flacco’s game record and the persistent struggles within the Patriots unit. This game was the epitome of the season, a moment to define the course of the collective record so far. This is especially so with the fact that it was set on Monday Night Football and tailed their loss to the Bills. My dad and I stayed up to watch the game, which had been surprisingly stressful. Thankfully, the Patriots managed to come out on top, providing a much-needed win. They also forged strong momentum going into the game this week with Baltimore.

The Ravens have many great attributes such as their great defensive line, many great offensive options, and one of the best QB’s in the game today being Lamar Jackson. The contention between Jackson and Cam Newton was the major subject all week, as both QB’s are dual threats. They can throw the ball great distances, reposition themselves hastily and run like crazy. The teams going into Foxborough face an uphill battle with the wind, ceaseless rain and a previously brutal game for everyone. This was another stressful game on the biggest stage of all– Sunday Night Football. Everyone was discounting the Patriots. Mike Tirico was the only member of the NBC crew to count on the Patriots to win, and they had to provide a triumphant performance to truly prove themselves to the league and to the country.

Given the rush of the rain, most of the action occurred on the ground. The Patriots had 173 net rushing yards on the night, led by a dominant performance from RB Damien Harris. There were additional yards provided by RB Rex Burkhead, as well as QB Cam Newton. The Pats also had 142 yards of receiving, led by WR Jacobi Meyers with 59. Newton also threw a 24-yard TD pass to Rex Burkhead in one of the best trick plays so far this season. He also threw for 118 yards and ran for 21, stepping forth with the same intensity as his performance against New York. The violence of the rain made my family and I glad that we were warm indoors watching the game on the T.V. rather than in the stadium. Although, the rain and wind seemed to erase the clarity of the broadcast here and there. Despite the wild weather, we were ecstatic about the Patriots being in the lead as the clock ran down. I will certainly remember it for a long time!

-Ian Cole

Raking the Gifts from Barren Trees

One of autumn’s neutral activities is raking the leaves, which I suppose I always have enjoyed to some extent. It is a tranquil necessity, especially before the snow comes. When I was little, I used to spend hours helping out uniquely, mostly jumping into massive piles of leaves and looking for wooly bear caterpillars or old golf balls buried among the leaves. Today, I am undoubtedly helping out more than my younger self, taking multiple buckets and carloads to the dump in the Town of Barnstable. Organizing the chaotic leaves is much more of a challenge for my parents now as they do not have my stamina, nor do they have mobility for the motion of raking and bearing the weight of the collections of withered leaves of warm hues.

The transformation that the massive piles of leaves undergo at the dump within twenty-four hours is interesting. Nearly every opening around the two immense piles was taken by vehicles and trailers of all manner and size, bursting at the seams with even more leaves. Many had to dive into the task of managing the leaves’ spree quickly, especially with the wild autumnal weather this year. The dump that takes in the leaves has a massive bulldozer that can amplify the piles for efficiency. Then, they eventually move them back for their ultimate decomposition for the prospect of rendering massive piles of soil for gardening in the Spring. It’s an essential cycle that keeps a clean stream of growth and health for our ecosystem annually.

Not only does the primary environment benefit from this, but the force behind the circuit of kinetics makes for a great exercise. This is especially beneficial during this pandemic and the tendency to remain indoors during the frigid season of late autumn and winter. According to a few websites with guidance on at-home workout regimen, the process of raking the leaves continues to be at the top of the list. I could not imagine the process of hefting, moving and dumping large buckets of leaves to be anything less than a workout, albeit of moderate intensity. I am sure that the perception of its intensity varies between many. The combination of preening the yard and circulating my mind and body is comforting. Since snow is bound to arrive sooner rather than later, make sure to spend as much time outdoors as possible!

By Ian Cole

How COVID-19 has sorted Provincetown

Recently, I spent the night in Provincetown over a weekend. Driving there, as I got closer to where my friend and I were staying, the apparent darkness and death of the pre-COVID-19 atmosphere hit me deeper than ever before. I have never seen Provincetown completely dark at only 10 p.m. when it comes to activity. Due to new regulations, everything has to be shut down promptly and sooner than before to deter crowds from hanging around at the local bars and restaurants. To see Provincetown completely dark at only 10 p.m. on a Saturday night was very eye opening as to what COVID-19 has done to what we used to know and love.

Provincetown has always been one of the friendliest places I have visited. I have always noticed how easy it is for strangers to befriend anyone around them in Provincetown. This time around, I noticed how far others wanted to stay from strangers, changing the entire atmosphere of the town. Before the pandemic, I never could have imagined the world in the state that it is now, especially this town. I could have never imagined what Provincetown would look like completely shut down on a Saturday night, the peak of the weekend.

Now, it is hard to imagine what life was like before COVID-19; what it is like to be able to not fret about the virus while in the company of others. COVID-19 has left, not only Provincetown, but the rest of the world a complete ghost town. I wonder when and if we will ever retrieve that normalcy.

Skylar Bradley

Zooming Past My Brain’s Maintenance

It’s been no secret that Zoom has been difficult for not only the students, who are dying to get back to campus and in person classes, but the teachers as well. I often find myself lacking the motivation to go to my online class and that is the easy part. I find it even harder to pay attention once I have made it to the class by the click of a few buttons on my computer. Staring at a computer screen all day can deeply challenge the teenage brain and, based on my own experience, the endurance of my attentiveness.

The walk on campus between my classes last semester provided more for me than I realized at the time. The walk broke up the time that I was in class for and prepared my brain for new information on a new subject. This made the task of paying attention to instruction infinitely better and easier. Motivation also came from knowing that as soon as my classes were done for the day, I would be able to hang out with my roommate and friends. There was ample anticipation for what I had planned for the rest of the day, outside of classes.

Now that we have been embedded in Zoom classes for so long, the days seem to blend together and drag on forever. The beloved, spontaneous get together with friends and family was the only thing I had to look forward to. Currently, that has mutated into little and sometimes nothing. Even though I have been struggling greatly with my lack of motivation and attention span during Zoom classes, I know that this situation is not ideal for my professors either. I think Zoom has brought us together in a sense that students and professors will continue to try their best in unfortunate circumstances. This unity glistens frequently and makes all of this feel a little more bearable.

-Skylar Bradley

A Bright Nightmare for a Hairdresser

At the beginning of quarantine and the apprehension that came along with it, I made the mistake of bleaching my whole head to achieve bright blonde streaks all over. This is something I had been working on but only with access to a hairdresser and a world free of COVID-19. Despite both my hairdresser and mother admonishing me of the regret I would harbor after this transformation, I, unfortunately, made the decision to go forward with dying my naturally brown hair bleach blonde. I’m sure you can already imagine where this is going, but I’ll tell you anyways. I certainly felt the bind of regret after I did it!

After a few months into quarantine and dying my hair, I started to develop an aggressive line where the expected growth of hair formed a discordant combination between bleach blonde and my brown roots. With hairdressers still being inaccessible at this point, my mom tried to fix my awful roots with boxed hair dye. Well, I soon found out that my hair does not take well to boxed dye! Instead of becoming a stronger blonde, my hair turned to a horrid shade of orange. At that point, I was sporting orange roots with bleach blonde ends.

Thankfully, my hairdresser finally started to accept clients back into the salon about a week later. Despite being a slightly nervous around the thought of being in the salon, I was able to revert back to the right color; my multicolored roots were history. Quarantine granted me the epiphany that it is best to keep my hair more natural for now. Now that my natural hair tinge is back, I do not have to worry about being shut off from the hair salon if collective quarantine is imposed in the future. This is a hair color that will survive any surprise quarantines that may lay ahead in the future. Since the world has proven to be very unpredictable, I plan on thoroughly contemplating any visions that I have. It is incredibly important within a world that is oriented around COVID-19 protocols and prevention.

-Skylar Bradley

De-stressing from Election Week

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This past Friday I took a trip over to the Cape Cod Canal for a refreshing bike ride and election cool-down. It was 64 degrees, cool wind, and not a cloud in the sky. The fresh air was much needed, especially after stressing over such an election. Riding through the trails really opened my mind up to be worry-free and helped me feel like I was living in the moment. It’s easy for me to worry about “the unknown” or “what’s next,” that this short trip helped me put aside those thoughts. It was refreshing to be excited about the blue sky, just like I would be in the summer. I think it’s having the open space and riding next to the endless ocean that helped to open my mind. When I’m stressed, my mind is like a gloomy, rainy day, with trees covering any peak-through of sunlight there could be. At the Canal, my mind ran free and I had a great space to think because my worries could fly away into the open sky. I would highly suggest taking a trip to your favorite scenic place where you can have fresh air and your worries float away. Going back to my classes was much easier after my bike ride than it would’ve been after watching what seemed to be an exhausting, endless election.

Giana Pollock

The Deplorable Pandemic Keeps Bookstores from their Warm Restoration

The peak of this weekend, Saturday November 7, reached the mid-sixties for the temperature. The yellow, orange, and cranberry red foliage swirled around with each other as the wind swept them from their tree branches. The motley of warm colors certainly complemented the astounding break in temperature for the month of November. Many leaves collapsed underfoot as I roamed around the Mashpee Commons. Threading the corner by the retail shop Puritans, my eyes seized the Market Street Bookshop. I crushed more leaves while walking toward its entrance. In front of the shop, there stood a ferocious fountain corralled by weathered stones and three wooden benches. If I found one of the books that I’ve been in need of, perhaps I could settle in one of the surrounding benches as one would repose on a massive pile of leaves for momentary excitement.

“Hello! Just so you know, you must use hand sanitizer before you can grab anything. If you decide to touch any books, you’ll have to set it aside on this table for a time-out.” The bookshop owner gestured toward the puny round table at her side. A label that read “Time-out” had been taped onto the edge of it, in large enough text that it would be decipherable to incoming customers. “Thank you!” I hoped she could notice the smile that my irises tried to radiate. After pressing on the bottle of hand sanitizer for an unfortunately superfluous glob, I ambled toward the classic literature section, which adjoined four or five rows of children’s literature. I bent over to read the spines of the books, but it was no use. The highlight of going to a bookstore is one being able to cherish that tangible experience. It is a poignant addition to one’s day and one is able to read the prose or poetry immediately. It would be nice to support my local bookstores, but the exigent COVID-19 protocols steal the liberation that this experience reaps. The COVID19 protocols that serve as an additional dust cover for the connection between the books and their prospective consumers. I caved into my disappointment, avoiding the rest of the adult section of books, before heading to the young adult section. If I did not feel the resolve to find an intriguing book for myself, then I could inquire about a book that my sister has been longing to read.

Once I tightened the ear loops on my mask, I made my way back to the entrance for my inquiry. “Do you have Alias by Margaret Atwood in stock?” She adjusted her cobalt blue top before walking astoundingly quickly toward her computer. She entered the book’s title into the computer’s database slowly, but I did not mind at all. The white rack of calendars creaked as I accidentally bumped into it. My mind began to ponder the outlook of the current learning format. Time was just as blank as this rack, but kept peeling to show the subtle blackness, the abysmal repercussions of negligence toward the essential health protocols and the lack of a vaccine. “The book is in stock!” She adjusted the ear loops of her mask due to the apparent irritation that her red ear lobes revealed. I stayed put, as tailing her seemed to be not conducive to anyone. She returned from the maze of a dozen individual bookshelves with Atwood’s novel. “Will that be all?” “Yes! Thank you for retrieving the book for me.” “That’s why I am here! At least it keeps my day interesting now that fewer customers come to this shop.” She flipped over the book to scan the barcode, before I inquired about other changes regarding the cancellation of festive events. “I’ll be back soon, no doubt about that!” We let light laughter escape behind our masks, before I thanked her.

-Alexandria Zine

The Unalterable Imagination of Children in Hard Times

“Approaching my right turn, the copper and crimson leaves kept swirling around my car from the persistence of the autumnal wind. I pulled into Johnny Tube’s mechanic shop. I thought a Saturday morning should be an opportune time for a quick oil change. Just as I had hoped there was an opening in the middle lane, and so I pulled up to it, where a mechanic stood on the side.  “Is this all right?” “Yes, that’s all right, ma’am.” Given this, I shifted gears, left the engine on, and grabbed my book, phone, and wallet. I thanked him and walked around to the outdoor table that is in front of the shop in a section of luxurious grass. I despised using the indoor waiting room because the stench of the shop was truly awful. I didn’t like the raucous that comes from the task of mending the vehicles either.

My phone and wallet reposed in my lap as I read to replace what would be stale moments. I held a thrift shop copy of Charles Dickens’ novel Hard Times. It has a yellow cover with an orange rim around its edges, with a golden carousel horse, two old men in suits, and a young girl with a yellow dress and yellow tresses at the center. A few feet away from me, there was a metal bench that had lions, giraffes, and zebras weaved into the metal arrangement. It was adorable, especially since it sat beneath an immense tree, giving children the opportunity to admire it as they waited with their guardians.

I looked up from the pages to note where the mechanics were in the process. As I looked at the indoor waiting room, I noticed a mother with two sons sitting in the chair that adjoined hers. Earlier this morning, my mom mentioned that her coworker has been invited to a drive-by baby shower but is dealing with the chagrin of not being able to afford nor select the ideal gift during this pandemic. I couldn’t envision tackling parenthood during a pandemic. I couldn’t stop thinking about the mother and her two sons, as well as my mom’s coworker. These are unequivocally hard times for parents who are covet providing and preserving their child’s mirth as well as their safety. It doesn’t help that the children are losing out on socializing with their friends and fortifying their imagination. Right now, children need just as much of art and imaginative playing and storytelling as they do of the news and COVID-19 protocols.

I had made it through four chapters by the time a mechanic pulled up to the side of the shop’s entrance to signify that it was my time to head toward the front office to pay for the service. I packed up my belongings, walked to my car to shut off the engine, grab my keys, and to pay at the service desk, which is next to the indoor waiting room. As I walked in, I saw the mother’s two sons playing with each other, using their two action figures and the potted plant on the side table that held a selection of magazines for entertainment. I couldn’t make out the plot of their game, but I smiled. I smiled at the fact that they could still muster so much imagination and enthusiasm against the need to wear masks and keep away from others. There was only an old man on the other side of the room. I paid for the oil change and was on my way.”             

-Alexandria Zine

What Covid has done to Provincetown

“Recently, I spent the night in Provincetown. Driving there, as I got closer to where my friend and I were staying, I was amazed at how dead and dark everything was. I have never seen Provincetown completely dark at only 10 p.m. Due to new regulations, everything has to be shut down very early during these times to deter crowds from hanging around at bars and restaurants. To see Provincetown completely dark at only 10 p.m. on a Saturday night was very eye opening as to what Covid has done to the things that we used to know and love. Provincetown has always been one of the friendliest places I have visited. I have always noticed how easy it is for strangers to befriend anyone around them there. This time around, I noticed how far others wanted to stay from strangers, changing the entire atmosphere of the town. Before Covid, I never could have imagined the world in the state that it is now and I could have never imagined what Provincetown would look like completely shut down on a Saturday night. Now, it is hard to imagine what life was like before Covid and what it is like to be able to not worry in a crowd of people that you might catch a deadly illness. Covid has left not only Provincetown, but the rest of the world a complete ghost town and it will be interesting to see if the world can ever return to normalcy.”

-Skyler Bradley

A Haircut, Finally

“After a very long couple of months, my hair was finally out of control. It was now spiraling down my back and past my waist. It was at the point where it was getting stuck in my jeans as I tried to tuck my shirt in. After much consideration, I decided a haircut would be the smartest option in my favor. Someone like my brother could wait. However, none of us anticipated a total shutdown at the end of the winter, so I did not prepare by getting my locks chopped. My hair salon had just recently decided to open their doors around the middle of July. It was one of the latest salons to open up, The Salon 16 West, in Orleans. I spoke with my stylist on the phone and he couldn’t get me in for about three weeks out. They’ve been receiving emails holding spots in their chairs since the beginning of the summer. However, I could wait, he’s been cutting my hair for years.

The day had finally arrived. Before entering the building, I had to call reception and they met me at the door with a digital thermometer. They took my temperature, normal, and doused me with hand sanitizer. They have a very strict mask on at all times policy, this was interesting when it came time to wash my hair. However, I did appreciate it since you are in such close proximity with your stylist. My stylist told me he had been booked up since the day they opened. We agreed on the fact that most people just couldn’t wait anymore. He had told me many people came in with hair they had accidentally botched themselves at home, as they grew impatient. His advice was that it is always better to just wait, rock those grown out locks. He was ecstatic that I had decided to come in, as my hair had become a “messy problem”, I did not disagree.

All of the stylists in the salon were required to take a “Barbicide Covid Safety Exam”, in order to come back to work. They all had certificates ensuring clients that they knew how to, and were actively, disinfecting all of their tools. They definitely were too, in between every step he would clean off his tools with this aqua blue colored concoction. It smelt like urgent care. Every client was meant to feel very safe in the establishment. They distanced out all of their chairs and would only allow 3-4 clients in the building at the same time, depending on their service, this would determine how well they could distance. It all ran pretty smooth except for the part where he washed my hair. This was tricky as the ear loops of my mask got soaked and ended up ripping. My recommendation to anyone who is planning on cutting or coloring their hair, bring an extra mask, especially if you’re using disposables.

I left that day with a whole foot less of hair on my head. I am usually somewhat sentimental about these things, but I was more than ready to say goodbye to my solid year of growth. My head felt five pounds lighter and my hair felt ten times healthier. A second recommendation would be to just wait until you can get into a salon to mess with your hair, especially if you’re as uncoordinated with a pair of scissors as I am.

“Who are you”, my friend Reed asks me when I get to her house after the salon. I don’t even think I know anymore. At first, I was nervous about the process of having to get my hair cut. But in the long run, I am glad I waited and went in, after a long couple of months it felt good to not only chop off my hair, but to be able to talk to my stylist and other clients there about their quarantine experiences. It makes the world feel a little smaller and more connected again. It showed me that we might all be dealing with quarantine differently, but at the core of it all, we are not so separated in this. We are all doing what we can to make the most out of the situation.

Hopefully places like salons will be able to keep their doors open. It was refreshing to see a small business thriving again after a very long spring. If you are nervous about getting your locks chopped, most salons are happy to answer any questions you have about their safety policy over the phone. Something as small as a haircut can serve as a reminder to most that we do have control over the little things during this.”

-Grace Rufo

A Hairdressers Nightmare

“At the beginning of quarantine when we all weren’t sure just how long this whole thing would go on, I made the mistake of bleaching my whole head and dying my hair bright blonde. With the warning of both my hairdresser and my mother that I was going to regret my decision  (I did), I, unfortunately, made the decision to go forward anyway, dying my naturally brown hair, bleach blonde. Those who’ve attempted this before, I’m sure can already imagine where this is going, but I’ll tell you anyways. A few months into quarantine and post dying my hair blonde, I started to develop an aggressive line where my hair had grown out and showed my awful, brown roots that very harshly transitioned into bleach blonde hair. With hairdressers still closed at this point, my mom tried to fix the awful roots I had with boxed hair dye. Well, I found out that day that my hair does not take well to boxed dye because instead of blonde, my hair turned a horrid shade of orange. I now was sporting orange roots with bleach blonde ends. Thankfully, about a week after, my hairdresser finally started to accept clients back in the salon. Despite being a little nervous about being in public and around others, I did end up getting my hair back to the right color and my multicolored roots were history. This experience helped me realize that not everyone should hop on the quarantine trend of switching up their hair. It also has inspired me to keep my hair more natural from now on. I’m now sporting a natural hair color that can grow out and not show my awful, harsh roots, a hair color that will surely survive any surprise quarantines that may lay ahead in the future.”

-Skyler Bradley

Zoom and its Challenges on the Teenage Brain

“It’s been no secret that Zoom has been difficult for not only the students, who are dying to get back to campus and in person classes, but the teachers as well. I often find myself lacking the motivation to go to my online class and that’s the easy part. I find it even harder to pay attention once I’ve made it to the class by the click of a few buttons on my computer. Staring at a computer screen all day definitely challenges the teenage brain and based on my own experience, challenges how long I’m willing to pay attention. The walk on campus between my classes last semester provided more for me than I realized at the time. The walk broke up the time that I was in class for and prepared my brain for new information on a new subject, making it much easier to pay attention. Motivation also came from knowing that as soon as my classes were done for the day, I would be able to hangout with my roommate and friends, giving me something to look forward to. Zoom classes have made the days all blend together and some days seem to drag on forever, as the only thing I have to look forward to is… well nothing. Although, I have struggled greatly with my lack of motivation and battled with my attention span during Zoom class, I know that this situation is not ideal for my professors either and I think that Zoom has brought us together in a sense that between the students and professors, we will all get through it together and continue to try our best.”

-Skyler Bradley

Getting a Haircut During a Pandemic

“​With COVID-19 still very much a threat to many, the current pandemic is in no hurry to come to an end. In an effort to protect as many lives as possible from this new and potentially deadly disease, we had to adapt to new and unforeseen changes to our daily routines and activities. Going out to the movies, grabbing a bite to eat with a friend, everything that we didn’t think twice of, now a distant memory.

Social gatherings, be it with family or friends, now turned from pleasant occasions into a risky and potentially deadly mistake. With so much being affected, it is not surprising that there is one more thing to add to that growing list: haircuts.

​Getting a haircut has always been a seemingly simple affair. The most we had to worry about was getting an appointment in. However, with the arrival of COVID-19, that became the least of our worries. When I got my first haircut after the pandemic began, a few months after, it really hit home and I was a bit shocked at how different everything was.

​Walking in, I immediately took note of the visible changes the salon had to make to comply with the current safety standards and precautions. Chairs spread no less than six feet apart, equipment constantly being sanitized before and after every customer, and everyone wearing masks of course.

​I remember looking at the hair stylists’ hands now covered with surgical gloves. It took me a few moments to remember that this was a hair salon; not an operating room. As I was getting my haircut and conversing with the stylist I just thought, wow, this really is the new way of life now. A hair salon used to be a place of fun conversation and gossip. Now, just like nearly any other establishment, there is an underlying sense of dread of that inescapable reality.”

-Mia Ruggiero

Foliage

“As I drove towards Cape Cod after a weekend over the bridge, I couldn’t help but notice all of the trees now burning orange and red. This is so bittersweet. My Mom has always loved the foliage, she loves winter so these beautiful arrays of color remind her that the cold is coming. The trees remind me of her, for this reason they make me smile, I also enjoy the fall, so this is sweet.

On the more bitter end, these trees also remind me that the cold is coming. Cold for most, unfortunately, brings seasonal depression with it. SAD or seasonal affective disorder, affects a hefty 5% of all adults in America. Seasonal depression can normally be traced back to the lower levels of vitamin D in our bodies due to the reduced daylight hours. This will cause most to feel anxious or hopeless during the cold months. Most everyone I know, myself included, feel the effects of SAD, whether it’s more severe or not. Yes, you can move somewhere where summer never ends, but as college students most of us don’t have the means of doing that quite yet. Since living out our winters on Cape Cod might be inevitable for some of us, I’ve decided to brainstorm some things that help me personally.

First off, Cape is barren in the winter as opposed to the summer months. It helps to go for drives or make the time to go visit friends and family off cape as to remember that other societies exist. It also helps to get up and put on real clothes in the morning, this sounds silly but wearing endless pajamas can make you feel a little bored sometimes. When I get ready in the morning, personally, it makes me feel more whole and organized. Keeping your space clean helps big time. They say the way your room or car looks is a representation of your mental health, I haven’t necessarily done the research on it but I know that yes, it seems to make sense and yes, when my areas are clean I feel far more relaxed and hopeful. These are a few of my own but at the end of the day it is important to hold the ones you love a little closer during the frozen months, you never know how someone is fairing.”

-Grace Rufo

Fall on the Cape

“Fall on Cape Cod is one of the things that I know I will remember most when I’m older and not living on the Cape. I have always had an appreciation for fall on the Cape because not only do we get to say goodbye to the tourists from the summer, we get to enjoy the beautiful scenery that surrounds us. We’re best known for our beaches here, and most people associate that with summertime, but  I think beaches in the fall are all the more breathtaking. I have been so lucky to grow up somewhere so beautiful, never living anymore than ten minutes from a beach and the colors of fall only add to the initial beauty of the Cape. I always make sure to appreciate summers on the Cape, knowing that others aren’t as lucky as I am and aren’t as close to the beach, however the beach never looks more beautiful than when there is a cold breeze and the trees are all shades and colors of fall. During the pandemic, we’ve all discovered a lot more free time than we’ve had before and this has allowed me to appreciate the small things in life. Cape Cod manages to be beautiful in any season, but recently, the fall has resonated with me as a peaceful season and provides the perfect scenery for long drives around the Cape.”

-Skyler Bradley

A Covid Halloween

“Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and sadly, will not be the same this year. Many people are saying that they will leave candy out on their front steps for those who choose to go trick or treating as a contact free method. Being too old to go trick or treating now, my heart breaks for those who still take part in all the festivities of the holiday. It certainly isn’t the same grabbing candy from someone’s front steps. These kids are missing out on getting to knock on a neighbors door, saying “trick or treat!” and the possibility of even being the victim of a potential jump scare or two. Although I am sad that kids this year will suffer from what may look like a rather lame Halloween, it is the safe thing to do to stay contact free from others on Halloween. I hope that others do still leave candy on their steps for contact free trick or treating, as a lover of the holiday, I would hate to see the world “cancel” the festivities of Halloween during this pandemic. My hopes are that contact free trick or treating will allow kids to still enjoy the best part of the holiday and add some normalcy to our first Halloween during a pandemic.”

-Skyler Bradley

Boston

“My best friend recently moved to Boston; right outside of Back Bay to be exact. I have spent time in the city before, but never as much as I have recently. Her apartment is adorable, comfortable, and perfect for a first time Boston resident. I go up there to clear my head, as strange as it sounds. Why would one go to a bustling, crazy city in order to clear their head. Well, sometimes it’s as simple as a change of scenery.

Cape Cod is beautiful, serene, and slow. It is a great place to grow up, or settle down. I was very lucky to be able to spend the bulk of my young years on this beachy peninsula. However, it offers less walks of life. Being in a place like Boston, you see people from every corner of the world; it is so international. While you see tragic things, such as drug abuse, homelessness, and crime; you also see beautiful things, like all kinds of art, schools, steeples, parks, families, and students learning their way.  In a world where staying home right now is priority in order to keep everyone healthy, it is also important to see people, places, and things, to remind ourselves that the world is still turning (with respect to cdc guidelines of course). Staying in is important, but never forget to explore while you can, and be excited to do so. While everywhere has restrictions in order to keep the virus at bay, people are doing their part to make sure everyone can get back out there and enjoy life again.”

-Grace Rufo

Socially-Distanced Escapism with Cars and the Night Sky 

“Since I knew that the finale of August would arrive soon, spending time with loved ones in an ideal way seemed to be my only priority. Honestly, people should not have to wait for a pandemic to take on a greater guardianship of life. This should always be the default for social injustices and environmental problems; it has always been my default. This was the circuit that I had been running on while jumping into the indigo blue Ford Explorer in front of the garage. Now, it was time to drive to the Wellfleet drive-in theater, and the essentials were all set for the trip. It was around 6:30 p.m. The managers there had picked an eclectic combination: Jurassic Park and Jaws. The digital receipt for our tickets, which was on my phone, was reposed in the cupholder. The vicarious life in a vehicle under the drape of the night sky would seem to offer so much solace. These films, and the mirth that they bring, precede a bulk of loss that is attached to this year. Art can occasionally give a reality that is more stable and just than what we currently have.

After pulling up to the official entrance to the parking lot, and being given our printed tickets, we laconically pulled up to a spot in the seventh row. It was one of the last rows with a green light at the end of it to indicate a few vacancies. Now, it was 7:40 p.m. Once the engine had stopped, my father kept adjusting the speaker that hugged the width of the driver’s door. The dull grey of the speaker hinted toward the effects of considerable weather and use.  Since it is the only operable drive-in theater on Cape Cod, and it has been in use since 1957, the vintage introduction and intermissions still appeared on the screen. Suddenly, there were cups of soda, chocolate bars, and buckets of popcorn rollicking on the screen, crooning about the showing of a film and the eventual intermission.

“Can you hear it clearly?,” my dad inquired, in order to ensure that my sister and I would not have to lean against the car’s interior in ungainly ways just to capture the audio and the video.

“Yes, we can hear it well enough,” I said softly, to avoid any interruptions. It did not matter, as everyone was concealed in their vehicles to avoid mosquitoes and to enjoy the comfort of partial privacy. Not to mention, the crickets in the woods that circled the theater were louder; but they enthralled me, in the sense that they might send me to sleep.” 

-Alexandria Zine        

Among Us

“The age of social distancing has us missing our friends. We are lucky that in Massachusetts the states guidelines have been loosened, but of course we are all in different situations and some are more comfortable taking risks with interactions than others. But no matter what your status is in this period of “the new normal,” we’ve all been jumping on each new thing that comes across our paths that can help us pass the time while staying as safe as possible. From board games to outdoor hang-outs, even FaceTime calls have all been great options, but recently, my friends and I have discovered a new way to spend time together while not actually being near.

For those who haven’t heard of it already, the game is called Among Us. You can download it on your phone and use pretty much any voice communication service to talk to your friends while playing in a room together. 

The premise of the game is that you and your group are trapped on a spaceship with ‘imposters’ who are chosen at random to sabotage your mission and kill people. The task for the rest of the crew? Find out who the imposters are and eject them before it’s too late! 

If the impostors kill everyone or sabotage the ship before you can fix it, you lose. 

Players appear as tiny colorful characters which can be accessorized by a variety of different hats to wear. While it doesn’t sound like much, it’s surprisingly both fun and funny at the same time. 

For those who find themselves still sitting at home missing your pals consider downloading Among Us to have an exciting yet safe time.”

-Kalea Trudeau

Now Entering the Twilight Zone

“The decision to move to a state halfway across the United States was surprisingly the most normal thing that has seemed to happen to me over the course of these past few months. Since the beginning of the pandemic I have slowly (and mostly from the safety of my house) watched as Cape Cod’s year round population made strides in altering all of our previous societal and social norms to suit the safety of the public health. Something I, like most, have noticed with the return of our usual off-islander’s is the rapid rate of growth of COVID cases within our area. Usually you can spot a tourist through their outfit- garish vacation beach-button ups or the classic fanny pack- sometimes it’s just the cheery, not-so-New England attitude that separates them from the crowd, but this summer the sign of the tourist seems to be a general disregard for the country’s current condition through their lack of masks.

Since the beginning of this unprecedented time masks have been a symbol of compliance and care as those who wear it are not only protecting themselves and their own families, but the lives of everyone they come in contact with. 

It’s become evident that we as Americans share a general restlessness that comes with being locked in our houses with our families. When the country reopened I, like many others, jumped at the chance to get out for an hour or two and maybe even give a little back to the local businesses that are now struggling. As spring months turned into summer I watched as the outsiders took masks as a suggestion and not a requirement, and I listened to their conversations at restaurants as they made statements such as, “Well if I haven’t gotten it yet, how real can it be?”

When the opportunity arose for me to leave Cape Cod at the end of September to spend a year in North Dakota I was worried about the timing. Traveling during a pandemic was something I had complained about others doing yet I was about to do the same thing. I couldn’t let this opportunity pass though, and I had confidence in my abilities to follow the rules set out by officials and general common sense enough to keep myself and others healthy. Cape Cod has always been a place to me that has kept its residents in a bit of a bubble that usually pops once you go over the Sagamore bridge and realize that our small island is just one part of a larger picture. As the date of departure crept closer and the Cape’s cases continued to grow I couldn’t help but wonder how the rest of the country was dealing with this pandemic.

The answer? They’re not.

During day one of a three day road trip to North Dakota my grandfather and I made the decision to stop at Niagara Falls as I had never been. We figured it was an outdoor location that was too beautiful to bypass since we were already so close. 

We pulled just outside the park where you entered and found parking, there were no people around. As we entered the park I noticed a few small groups wandering around, they were mask-less but they were also far apart so I didn’t think too much of it until I walked further. Every step I took closer to the falls I saw the mass groups of people all standing practically on top of each other, sometimes bumping into someone that they didn’t know. Already after months of social distancing the sight of this felt uneasy but the most shocking part was the severe lack of masks. 

The first thing that ran through my mind upon seeing the sea of bare faces? 

“There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man…”

No, seriously, I truly felt for a moment that I was in the Twilight Zone. I sat on a rock for ten minutes as my grandfather went off on his own and I could not shake the odd feeling, asking myself and texting friends this same statement:

‘Did I just dream up a pandemic?’

There was hardly a mask in sight, and those who were wearing them seemed to think that hanging off one ear counts (it doesn’t), or that as long as one member in a group of ten has one it’s fine (it’s not). 

And after three days of road tripping through multiple states before settling into my new home of Fargo, North Dakota I have to say- that while masks are the new social norm on Cape Cod, the same is not true for, well, anywhere else actually.

And for the first time since this pandemic started a small scared feeling that I had been carrying with me turned to full blown fear as the future of our country’s health became more and more blurry right in front of my eyes- but maybe that’s just my glasses getting foggy because I remembered to wear a mask.”

-Cassie LeBel

Thrifting Through a Pandemic 

“We pulled into the Waquoit Church parking lot on Saturday to flip through their eclectic conflation of records, films, books and other antique gems. It was a partially sunny afternoon, two hours before they would close the thrift shop until Tuesday of the upcoming week.

It seems that they have been sprouting densely from the wooden panels that lock the church’s verdancy of expansive butterfly trees and ordinary shrubs in the mulch bed, as two handfuls worth of these parasol-like growths continue to nurture themselves in the organic sustenance of their connections. I looked at the stone bench and the stone frog statue in the grass to the right of me.

There were four people ahead of my sister and I in the queue, and so I stood there juggling the mushrooms over and over again in my mind. Sylvia Plath’s poem “Mushrooms”became the primary channel or thought in order to tolerate the duration of our wait. 

One of the church pastors gestured for the next two individuals to enter from that red, ‘L’-shaped, brick pathway, to the right of their second building, which brought us down to a side entrance that stood by a faded white door enshrouded by old cobwebs that were, at some point, abandoned. 

After roughly ten minutes of standing beyond the entrance, we adjusted the ear straps of our masks before finally entering the shop. My sister rushed over to the black crates containing both old and new records, while I looked at the films and classic literature selections that adjoined them.

“What do you think of these records?,” my sister mumbled to me as I perused the poetry book crate, but found nothing that I truly wanted. She held a Barbra Streisand record and a glossy Christmas record of Johnny Mathis with the plastic wrap still shielding it, and a few more contemporary artists. I encouraged her to buy all of them so that she could place the vinyls on her walls for intriguing room decor.

Since the other customers were at the other end of the shop, gazing at an assortment of paintings and home furniture, one of the members of the church had placed  a number of films which rendered the shape of a fan.

“If you are looking for something to watch, you should look at these titles. My grandson loves them.” The elderly man, dressed in a white baseball cap, a cream-colored windbreaker, blue and white flannel, and khaki pants sat in a wooden chair, waiting for us to either grab one of the films or pay for the items that were on my sister’s hands.

“Thank you for the suggestions. I love vintage films, but we’ll be back next week.” I smiled because I thought it was admirable that he chose his favorite films for us given that we are regulars. I pulled out a ten dollar bill to pay for the five two dollar records, thanked him, and decided to carry them for my sister as we ambled toward my car.”

-Alexandria Zine

Navigating the Orchards During a Pandemic

keiths-farm-1

“The grass that covered the parking lot kept graciously swaying in the autumn wind. Apple-picking is quite the familial union during the autumn season, so it is always integral that we set a date to drive to Keith’s farm in Acushnet, Massachusetts. The familiar sign is a palette of light orange, dusty rose, crimson red, mint green, grey, and black tinges against a beige background with a list of produce, such as corn, squash, tomatoes, et cetera. Black labradors stick to this agrarian sign at the top left and right corners, and among the red arrows pointing toward one’s left.

Parallel to the parking area, the corn grass is rustled by the autumn wind behind a faded grey fence, but more resolutely than the terse grass. In 2019, my ambulant family and I managed to select two bushel bags full of apples, which were a blend of red and green due to an inconsistent ripeness. COVID-19 has scarcely changed this endeavor for fresh fruit and vegetables, but reminds one that the pigmentation of our lives can be glommed just like it is in the leaves. If one is not wary of the repercussions of not preserving universal health, then the cold contrition that follows can leave one feeling vacant from a variety of loss.

Now, PPE is the stable autumnal gear for apple-picking and such, along with social-distancing. Not only that, but one must set reservations due to the winnowing of the farm’s total capacity. Even though I must wear a mask, I am sure that I will be able to smell the fresh apple cider and pies that are planted along the left side of the main building, which is the location that one enters and exits the farm. Parallel to their baking section are the miniature pumpkins and other types of produce for those who do not covet a walk among the orchards and among other sections of the farm. Once one walks past these two interior strips, the orchards are ostensible, along with the dirt path on which the tractor trailers traverse to access the various points of the farm. Throughout these apple orchards, and the PYO (pick your own) region of the farm,   “Customers who do not have masks or cloth face coverings will not be allowed in,” according to their revised webpage. This novel policy, like the other vital requirements that they are enforcing during this pandemic, certainly expels the pigmentation from any of my meager qualms and those of others.

It is arduous to decide if we should skip out on this universal and annual tradition, or look past these reservations for the other upcoming festivities. The fact that it COVID-19 has touched every jovial congregation makes it quite difficult to know if it is better to wait until more people comply with the policies and the tinges of normalcy start to appear again. I suppose that now is the time to utilize the creativity that comes with a bit of solitude, or quarantine, to render some autumnal joy. The memories of former years are just as fresh as this year’s apples may be, but I am just relieved that the recollection is always there.”     

-Alexandria Zine                            

Home Grown Appreciation

“My passions and interests in life have all been created by my development on Cape Cod and I am confident that I would not be the person I am today without having grown up on where I did. To be able to communicate the majesty of the place where I live is an impossible task.

I feel very blessed to say I have lived in the same house on the Cape my entire life. I’ve never moved, with the exception of going to college. 

My parents designed and built the house themselves. They chose the location because of what was in the back yard – three beautiful cranberry bogs, a herring run and the Harwich Conservation Lands, a giant parcel of perfectly preserved natural woodlands. The house was finished just two weeks before my birthday and from the day that I was brought home to I have been able to live next to what I consider one of the most beautiful places on Earth. 

When I was little, the woods and endless trails served as my playground. I have experienced hawks, eagles, osprey, deer, coyote, fox, heron, countless species of birds and even a fisher cat, all while I was just playing as a child. I have watched the herring every spring and cranberry harvests every fall. I can think of no better anecdote than my personal history to demonstrate the true intrinsic value of the natural world of the home I come from, especially fragile and unique ecosystems like the ones found on the Cape.

I know I can never make my reader feel what I do for this place, because they will never share the memories that I do with this land. Outsiders will always have their own space that they originated from, which is one that they hold close to their heart and cherish more than anything. My home is no different. It means so much to me, but only because of the memories I have attached to this place. It is a part of myself, my identity, and therefore I personally give it value.

I think that everyone should visit Cape Cod and New England at least once in their lives to experience its magic. Some might disagree but I think that to truly understand the experience, one should come in the wintertime. If you can’t appreciate New England’s beauty during its coldest, darkest and most inhospitable moments, then you don’t deserve to experience it when it’s warm, welcoming and at its best. There’s a lot of majesty in this place, even when the wind feels like it’s biting your skin and the sky looks like it’s mad at you. It takes a special kind of person to appreciate its energy, but taking the time to do so makes it that much more incredible.”

-Kalea Trudeau

Talking it Out

“Most of my closest friends are in college now, like I am. Though we might attend different schools, together we are all in the pursuit of higher knowledge. Not all of us stay in the dorms, but we do need to be on campus for classes. But now, all of the students that I know have been sent home and prohibited from coming back to campus because of the coronavirus.

It’s a scary time right now, and like many, I rely on my friends for a lot of support. I have a best friend who’s currently home from the University of New Hampshire, a school which ends up being about a 3 hour drive from where we live. Recently we talked about our lives during this ‘corona season’. I asked her how she felt about all of the summer residents moving to their Cape houses to get away from the virus in their home states. 

She was mad. 

She ranted to me about how ridiculous she thought it was- stating how the Cape has a huge population of elderly people with over 60% of year round residents over age 65, how we only have one hospital which covers most of the island with only 300 beds and how we don’t deserve to be treated like a stomping ground for the wealthy when we (the year round residents) don’t have a backup plan like theirs with another house somewhere far away. 

She also made a really good point when she observed that our grocery stores are now stocking for our offseason population, which can be hundreds of thousands less than in the summer. The shelves are always barren now. The island cannot currently provide enough food or other resources for all these people leaving their home states. 

She reminded me that Massachusetts should not be seen as a safe haven. We don’t need anyone who doesn’t respect our community coming here and ruining our lives any more than they already have been.”

-Kalea Trudeau

Sanity Savior

“During this pandemic I have personally been practicing social distancing to a bit of an extreme. I interact with the family members that I share a house with, friends online, and classmates in Zoom classes. I only leave the house to help my mom at her place of work, and even then, I don’t interact with anyone but her, until recently.

Due to the towns (great) decision to get a lot of road work done while traffic is lower, the section of road directly in front of my house has been blocked off for a week. Initially this concerned me as I had to leave and come multiple days in a row. I knew I would have to circumvent the cones and awkwardly explain to the cop watching that I just wanted to go home. Luckily this turned into a brief yet enjoyable conversation with the cop. I have learned his name and he has learned mine. He is a good man. By now I have had three separate conversations with him and have enjoyed every single one. This slight interaction with someone new is helping my sanity stay intact and for that I am grateful.”

-Garrett Spagone

Board Game Bonding

“Because we are serving time at home due to quarantine, we have a lot of time with our family. We are in a time of crisis where we are stuck at home with the closest people in our lives. For some people we like being with the family, and others cannot wait until this finally ends. People are finding different activities for the family atmosphere. Anywhere from chess, Scrabble, Monopoly, etc. Anything that the family can do together, parents will buy without hesitation.

At this time, my family and I are partaking in a family chess tournament. It is something that can bring us together and at the same time achieve a family bond like no other. It gets pretty intense at times, having to hold family members back from killing each other. But there is nothing better than to spend time with the people that love you and that have the competitive drive like you do. It is never a dull moment in the Duran house.”

-Jhteneck Duran

Not So Social Distancing

“Something that I’ve sadly seen a lot, thanks to social media, is people not social distancing whatsoever. Posting Snapchats of them and their friends together as if none of the COVID-19 pandemic is going on in the world right now. It’s as if people seem to think just because it’s their friend that it makes it ok. I think most people including myself want to get back to socializing with others but a lot of us realize that in order to get that back sooner we to need social distance.

Unfortunately, we cannot completely control what others do. All of us are suffering, but on the bright side, there are still ways to communicate and have fun with friends. A lot of people have been having meetups or cocktail parties on Zoom. For birthdays, they even have all their friends and family drive by beeping their horns to celebrate. It might not seem like that big of a deal to meetup with a friend or two, but a bunch of people doing the same thing adds up and then we realize we’re not doing that much social distancing at all.”

-Naia Fermino

Movies and Memories

“Being stuck in quarantine has led me to watch a lot of different things. One thing I’ve noticed is that many TV channels have been playing well known and iconic movies, so I’ve started tuning into them. One movie I’ve gone back and re-watched is Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. 

I first watched Jaws when I was about six years old. I can’t remember if I was allowed to or not, but my grandfather let me stay in the room when it was on one morning. I don’t remember if I had been scared, but something that crossed my child mind was how my parents would react if they learned that I watched it.

Fast forward to 2020, and Jaws has become a personal favorite of mine. It’s a film that I always watch with my dad every summer. When my younger sister got her first hamster, we named him Brody, after the movie’s protagonist Chief Martin Brody.

Now that I’m older, I’m able to appreciate the scenery of the movie more, and it blows me away when I realize that the whole place was filmed in the area where I grew up. Most of the movie was filmed on Martha’s Vineyard, and some shots are recognizable areas in my hometown of Falmouth. In the scenes where the characters are out on the ocean, I always remind myself that I’ve been on those waters before. I’ve walked the streets of the Vineyard, where the cast stood during production. I’ve stood on the bridge where the robotic shark swam and attacked people. If someone asks me if I’ve seen the movie, I respond with ‘Seen it? I’ve lived it.’”

-Reece Roth

Keeping Connections

“A little boy balances on a ladder, peering into a window, excited to see who is on the other side. Looking at a picture that her coworker had sent of her son, my mom explained that the boy’s 90-year-old great grandfather was on the receiving end of the conversation, very happy to see his granddaughter and great grandson. This interaction happened towards the end of March and was a sign of hope. We are all people who crave socialization so we will take measures to still do that safely. Although visiting through a window was a little strange and not ideal, that moment shared between a 9-year old and 90-year-old will be forever cherished.

I immediately thought of my grandfather who is living in a nursing home right now. We can’t visit him in his room like we used to, and with his mental state he’d be a bit confused if we showed up at his window. Fortunately, the staff at his facility were able to set up a video call for him and my dad. Seeing the smile on my dad’s face as he talked to my grandfather made me realize how important it is to stay in touch during these times. It wasn’t quite the same as going in to visit, but it gave us some relief to hear his voice again.

Social distancing has taken a toll on everyone, but we can still find ways to connect with those we love. The future is uncertain, but we are all figuring it out together.”

-Virginia Johnston

Searching for Sunlight

“Sunshine, we don’t belong here. We got no flowers to grow.” – When You Know (Neck Deep)

“Seasonal depression is very real and very scary. I’ve dealt with it most of my adult life and I can tell you from experience, it is no easy problem to fix. It is especially hard because the weather is something that we simply have no control over.

Normally, once winter comes around, I start to get a little panicky. I’m waiting for the snow, the rain, the lack of sunlight as the darkness approaches quicker and quicker each night. I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

While it is now spring, it certainly has not felt like it. The Cape has been peppered with rain and even hail as clouds block out the sun and make most days pretty dreary.

Sunlight is so important to everyone, for a multitude of reasons. It provides vitamin D, which is a key ingredient to feeling healthy and feeling good. I’m trying my best each day to find the sunlight, even if the skies are dark.

While literal sunlight would be ideal, we have no control over sunshine. We do have control over our mindset, however. You can try to find the sunlight in your life each day, whatever that means to you. We just need to keep reaching out for a little bit of hope in a world that gets darker and darker each day.”

-Mike Kehoe

Essential Journey 

“Staring down Main Street in Falmouth, I had to recognize that familiar vacancy again. By now, there should be clusters of people preparing for the highlights of this spring weather and the gatherings to come. There is an everlasting yearning for this daze to pass and now the keeping of time is important. The successive tick of days and weeks until this havoc stops wrenching vitality out of lives.

My dog pops up from his seat near the rear of the car to gaze at the occasional cyclist or jogger, but there are so few. His brown eyes are the sweetest as that internal warmth for life starts to glow again, those spontaneous recognitions of positivity. The predictability in rushing to the car every Thursday to drive is essential.

Nobska Lighthouse and the other gems in Falmouth are brighter than ever before. During these relaxing drives around my hometown, I realize that the flickers of positive moments are all that anyone has, especially now. On these rides, the destination is irrelevant and the journey to collecting ourselves is all that matters.”

Alexandria Zine

Bad Hair Day

“We have let ourselves go in regard to the virus. Due to everybody having to stay inside, we cannot go to the barber shop or hair salon. There have been memes spread throughout social media about guys not being able to get a haircut due to the quarantine, and when we are finally able to go outside every guy will look like Neanderthals. But some guys have put matters into their own hands, shaving their entire head because they are sick of having a bad hair day. Personally, I will never do that because, to me, my hair is sacred. I would not want to wake up bald because I do not know what I would do. I have been going crazy because my hair has never been this long since I was six years old. It has been hard not being able to get a fresh haircut but at the same time it is nice to think that every guy is going through the same thing, waking up every day with crazy hair, having to wear hats to cover up the bad hair and having to comb your hair backwards so that it looks semi nice.

The one thing that this virus has taught me is patience — having to wait to get a haircut and having the optimism that everything will become normal soon, and that we will all be living our normal lives again.”

-Jhteneck Duran

Date Nights

“Anyone who is in a long-distance relationship can testify that it’s not easy at most times. However, add a pandemic into the mix and it makes it 100 times harder. Having a boyfriend in the military means that I don’t get to see him most of the time anyways, as he’s on the complete opposite side of the country. The only thing now is I couldn’t even see him if I wanted to because of COVID-19. In fact, the plan was to go see him for the whole week of spring break. I did end up going but only got to see him for about 3 days since the trip was cut short because of the current pandemic.

We have always tried to make the best out of our situation, and we FaceTime just about every day. Something we’ve done in the past is have movie nights, where even though we’re not together we still watch the same movie or tv show. During quarantine, we both decided to spice things up a little and we’ve both been eating popcorn or certain other snacks and drinks while we watch. For about the past 3 weekends we’ve been doing this, and I have to say it’s been a big “pick me up” in all of this. It’s something that I greatly appreciated before but has been one of the small things that has helped a lot during this time.

Living through a pandemic is by no means easy for anyone. I think that it is important in all of this to find the light in even the little things because it can be easy to focus only on the negative.”

Naia Fermino

Home-Cooked Love

“For as long as I can remember my grandmother has made my family delicious home cooked meals. Every week on Sunday we go over to her house for dinner and it’s frankly one of my favorite days of the week because of it. Sadly, like COVID-19 has done for a lot of things, it’s taken away this long-loved family tradition. Someone might ask “Well why aren’t you still doing it? You can still go over for dinner.” This is true but rather than put a loved one at risk we decided staying at home would be best.

My grandmother sure still found a way that we get our food though. She calls us up and simply just says, “I’ve made some food, stop on by and pick it up.” This has happened about 4 times since quarantine, and trust me, I am not complaining. Think of it as picking up take out. My grandmother would see us pull up, put the food out on the front step for us to take and voila! We’ve had apple pie, chili, tacos, you name it. It’s not the same, but still enjoyable for both my family and my grandmother.”

Naia Fermino

No Escape

“Shortly before I completely locked myself indoors, due to social distancing, was when concerns about this pandemic were at an all-time high. I was starting to get tired of hearing about nothing but the virus. After eating breakfast and aimlessly driving around for a while I stopped at a gas station to fill my tank and grab a bottle of sweet tea. The lady behind the counter rang up my drink then said, “Good luck out there, you don’t want to get sick with whatever this thing is!” I remember having the thought, ‘Man, I can’t even stop at a gas station without hearing about this darned virus.’

Later that same day, I decided to go for a walk through the woods behind my house. There’s no way I would have to think about a rising pandemic out there, right? Evidently that was false. After being alone in nature for a while I was finally starting to forget about the worries of the world when suddenly a friendly stranger approached, also on a nature walk of her own. Her dog was very excited to see me, but before I could say anything to her or her beautiful companion she blurted out, “I sure hope animals can’t catch this virus, I wouldn’t want Brody here to get sick, now would I?” I was fuming internally after that one.

I thought to myself, ‘I can’t get away from it! I can’t even walk through the woods to get away!’

Garrett Spagone

Church Outreach

“I have continually seen a lot of compassionate acts being portrayed as the virus continues to roam and people continue to be isolated. Life is full of unsure outcomes and uncertainties, but this is the time to reach out. Supporting the ones who need it and giving a hand to those in need is becoming more popular as times get harder.

Churches across the Cape have vastly grown in popularity as a means of comfort in distress. Because they cannot meet in person under the circumstances, they have resorted to social media platforms that have increased their audiences and given more opportunity than ever before to give hope to those who feel uneasy. Churches that only had a few hundred members are increasing to a thousand listeners that feel their lives are being changed because of it.

The churches that have been giving back to the community in any way they can by recording their messages and giving easier access to them has made a great impact on others’ feelings towards their current situations. I am more than happy to see this is the case and I hope for more opportunities to give security and comfort.”

Victoria Chiaramonte

Mask Invasion

“Everyone is taking precautions with this virus. When you walk into any establishment or store you will find people with masks on. Every employee and customer both have their masks on talking to each other. If you didn’t know why they were wearing them you would think that the world is coming to an end. It is a scary sight to see. Children, adults, elderly wearing these masks. It’s like something out of The Walking Dead. People are really trying to not catch the virus; they will do whatever it takes to not catch it. Everything from keeping hand sanitizer in their pocket, walking outside with the mask on, wearing gloves, and giving elbow handshakes. I went to my CVS near me to pick up some ice cream and the minute I walked in, it felt like I was at the doctor’s office, everyone wearing their gloves and mask. I felt like the odd man out because I wasn’t, but the whole time I was thinking to myself, “Where do I find those masks?” It is not uncommon to see people with these kinds of masks on. We are all just watching out for ourselves and others and making the world just a little safer.”

Jhteneck Duran 

Toilet Paper Wipe Out

“I had heard so much about it. Ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, so much was being said about how there was no toilet paper in any of the stores. Shelves were bare and people were leaving with an entire shopping cart full of it. Seeing these pictures and videos, I thought it was crazy, but I didn’t realize how serious it was until I saw it for myself.

It was a warm Saturday afternoon. My family was having a fire in the yard, burning old branches and sticks. On behalf of our mother, my little sister and I made a quick run to Stop & Shop to get supplies for hot dogs and s’mores. While looking through the aisles as quickly as possible, a thought came into my head. I turned to my sister and said, “Hey Casey, do you think the shelves of toilet paper are empty?”

The two of us walked to the other end of the store, stopping at the aisle that had toilet paper featured on its sign. I stood there in complete awe at the sight of it, realizing that everything I had been seeing online was in fact real. There was a sign on the shelf that limits two packages to a customer, and I wondered how many people actually followed that rule.

I told my sister that we should get home, so we walked away, paid for our stuff, and then left. I’m still surprised at what I saw, and I do hope that everyone is able to get the supplies they need during these times.”

Reece Roth

Rainbow Art 

“The other day, my mom dragged me outside for a walk. I was a bit reluctant when I first felt the chilly air but was ultimately grateful to get a little freedom from the house. She had already gone on her neighborhood walk but she saw something that she really wanted to show me, so I was there by her side. She brought me a few streets away from our house, where she had passed some of the neighborhood kids earlier.

Displayed on the street were beautiful chalk rainbows sitting in front of each house. The kids had taken it upon themselves to bring some cheer to the street. One main rainbow sat in the middle with the message “Thank you first responders, nurses, and doctors!” The smaller rainbows in front of the houses spread messages like “Stay strong!” and “Wash your hands!” Upon closer inspection, a few of the houses also had hand drawn rainbows in their windows. My mom and I couldn’t stop saying how thoughtful this was.

Apparently, they were taking part in a more global project to spread love and joy during this tough time. Instagram is full of similar messages. It is a way for kids to get involved in thanking the workers on the front line of this pandemic. “

-Virginia Johnston

Finding the Insight

“Life during a global emergency can be hard to adjust to, but I always find a way to make the best of it. It is interesting how I felt a lot more motivated to get things done when I have less time to accomplish them, whereas now I have a lot more time, yet a lot less motivation. Sometimes it’s frustrating to have all the time in the world and no mental strength to accomplish what I need to accomplish, but I am learning the rewards of resisting procrastination.

As an extroverted person, it is very hard for me to be away from people. I often feel drained by the lack of socialization and face to face conversation, but this has taught me to entertain myself in different ways other than talking or socializing with others.

Writing my thoughts down really helps me understand my mental processes and how to handle them. Being outside really helps me get a feel for the outside world and gives me the right head space to understand that this isn’t forever. It’s easy to get let down by the seclusion, but I have learned so much already about myself, which has given me more insight then I ever would have if I wasn’t put in this situation.”

-Victoria Chiaramonte

Trapped

“Staying in the house for days at a time and not stepping foot out the door to socialize with people is generally not seen as the epitome of mental health for anyone. However, in the past weeks this has become the best thing you can do for your health and the health of others. I am a non-essential worker, which means that besides one or two days of the week when I might go grab groceries, I am not leaving my house to go out into the public at all. I am fortunate enough to have other family members in my household to talk to and keep me entertained, but personally that isn’t my struggle. The biggest struggle for me is feeling like I’m trapped in a room all the time and in a jail of some sort.

I have a good amount of homework from school and now spend the majority of my time sitting in a particular space in my house and completing it for hours. I do have some free time, but even then, I can feel a little trapped. That’s why the most important thing to me in all of this is getting outside, even if that’s just being on the deck in the back of my house for 15 minutes. I do prefer going for an actual walk in my neighborhood to get a change of scenery. It’s actually quite interesting, because before all of this I used to be quite the homebody and wasn’t the type to go and take a walk around the neighborhood. It’s the only thing you can really do outside your own house now, that and going to the beach making sure to keep your distance from others. We all must do what we can in these trying times in order to stay safe and healthy, both physically and mentally.”

-Naia Fermino

Full House

“I’ve always enjoyed my “me time”. Scratch that, I’ve always NEEDED my “me time”. As an adult, I’ve become a bit of an introvert and social anxiety is something that I deal with on a daily basis. You would think that with social distancing and self-quarantining, I would be in my element. You would be very wrong.

I’m riding out the proverbial storm, however long it may be, at my folks’ place in Falmouth. My Mom and Dad are great and they have two dogs named Riley and Charlie that I adore. However, I wasn’t the only Kehoe who had this idea. My brother, who lives in Boston’s North End, is now working from home and he decided that he would rather not spend his quarantine locked up in a tiny apartment. So, he came down to Falmouth as well, along with his dog, Mookie. But that’s not all folks. My Sister, who lives in Chicago, recently left her job and doesn’t have a new one yet, so it made no sense for her to stay in a hot-spot during this global pandemic. So, she flew in and is staying in Falmouth as well. It truly is a full house, and I’m not talking about life at the Tanner’s crib (though if I were, I would definitely be Uncle Joey).

So, with five humans and three dogs, it’s been getting a little cramped in here. I’ve had to be more creative when it comes to finding that oh so elusive “me time”. I’ll go for a drive; not going anywhere, not getting out of the car, just driving. It allows me to relax my mind, I can listen to music or a podcast and it really helps preserve my sanity. Self-care is extremely important, especially in scary times like we are living in now. Check in with yourself and don’t forget to do what you have to in order to get your own “me time”, whatever that means to you.”

-Mike Kehoe

Positive Posting

“Turning on the news during this crisis serves as a death wish to positive thinking. There are constant updates on our current pandemic, and it is so difficult to pull away. I think it is important to stay informed, but everyone has a limit to what we can handle. That is why I am so grateful that one of my (newly) online classes has started a discussion board exclusively for positivity.

The discussion board is open for all our classmates to comment. So far, we have seen some happy music videos, tips on positive thinking, and, of course, dog pictures. It is a place that offers a break from the constant flow of negative media. The classmate who started the discussion also linked us to the Good News Network (https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/), a website dedicated to sharing uplifting stories.

By having a place for us to go when the negativity is hitting hard, I feel like a part of a community. We are all going through this together so let’s do what we can to bring in some light.”

-Virginia Johnston

Window Seat Thoughts

“Sitting on the window seat in my pastel blue bedroom, refractions of sunlight beam through the passing clouds. One blind is drawn while the other is not, like a pair of eyes. The tranquility of the world opposite my side of the window fails to reflect the instability of the actual world. This may be the only shortcoming I can, and will, ever be able to tolerate in my life.

In the periphery, I catch my cat threading the corner of the wall as he prepares for his leap to my window seat. My lap becomes his repose and the tufts of dusky fur glide through my hands; the luxurious softness of it instilling poise. Birds and words jet past my window; my cat’s eyes tail the birds while mine follow the news headlines. With a single swivel of my head– glancing at both of my cat’s chartreuse green eyes and the crushing news– I toss my phone onto the bed. That continual spur of concern fades and the fears brush past my mind as a brush untangles the minor knots in his fur coat.

Through the eye, rain plunges from the clouds to the earth and the peak of light trembles before the amorphous shrouding. The anguish envisions its spill out of everyone and a shove of light musings out of the mind. Tears may pass and touch the grass, but it cannot abash my hope. The warmer, heartening season is on its way. Yet, January, February and March have sobbed unduly. I thought April was the one for the weeping. Following April’s tears, the bustle of greenery and the popping of flowers out of it will have a mark. Maintaining a presence and basking in the company of family is all I need. Our progression is overturning every mistake and remorse. Now is the time, now is our time.”

-Alexandria Zine

Seaside Chats

“Studying from home is a lot different than being on campus. There isn’t that separation that switches my focus from home life to schoolwork. I talked about this with my friend and found that she felt the same way. We came to the conclusion that if we could be together then we could motivate each other to get some work done. Unfortunately, meeting up at the library isn’t an option and video chatting isn’t quite the same.

To follow the rules of social distancing, we devised a plan to meet at the parking lot of a local beach. The guidelines we set included no rolling the windows down and no leaving our respective cars. We pulled in and I called her on the phone. The second of sound delay on our call was a bit annoying but finally seeing somebody new after being in quarantine felt like a breath of fresh air.

We chatted and laughed and caught up. We vented to each other about how we were getting through everything going on. Our original plan of doing schoolwork fell through a bit, but being able to get our feelings out I think was something we both really needed.”

-Virginia Johnston

Ghost Town

“On March 25, I took a ride down Route 28 and I was surprised that it didn’t take me very long to get to Hyannis, as traffic was very light. As I entered West Main street, I noticed that there were very few cars on the road leading to the hospital. As I drove further, I noticed that there were very few cars in parking lots. It reminded me of a ghost town of the old west.

I drove to Best Buy to see if they were open, as I do need a new computer, and they were closed. The parking lot was bare and there were no cars to be seen. From there, I drove to Cape Cod Community College (4Cs). I entered the college through the normal route and tried to park in parking lot A, but was turned back by security because they had set up a COVID-19 testing area. I drove to parking lot C and took a photograph of the empty spaces all around me. There were no students or staff around that I could see, and so I left.

Hyannis was like a ghost town. I have never seen it so quiet and I’ve lived here since I was a kid. I took several pictures to prove my point and really, like so many of you, I felt kind of lonely that day, seeing all the emptiness around town.”

-Bruce McDaniel

Stay Safe Out There

“The Coronavirus has taken over our daily lives and has everyone in frenzy. I don’t know about you, but I am over the Coronavirus. Before it became the virus that swept the nation and infected and killed people all over the world, we thought nothing of it. There were memes all across social media about the virus. I remember one was someone drinking a corona and the title saying, “When you don’t care about the virus”. We thought nothing of the virus. We all thought that it was something like the Zika virus, but we did not expect it to be this catastrophic. People buying enormous amounts of toilet paper, canned goods and water bottles because they do not know how long the nationwide quarantine will last.

This has become one of the most horrific and scariest situations in recent years. Everyone is taking precautions; closing down schools and having students do online classes, making people work from home, everyone staying six feet away from each other due this scary virus. People have a right to be scared, because in Italy alone the deaths due to the Coronavirus have surpassed 10,000, with new cases still being reported. In Europe, the death rate is 36,000 which is an outrageous amount. The Coronavirus is being compared to the Black Plague, and rightfully so. No one expected this virus to be so dangerous and horrific. The number of deaths would send chills down anyone’s spine. It is scary to think that this form of virus is killing people around the world, but when it hits your country, your state, your city and your home, it’s something that makes a person never leave their house, let alone open the front door.

This virus hits hard, not just because of the illness, but also because due to jobs being closed and people being laid off, people have no income to keep paying the bills. I was working the other night and a lady said to me that her daughter lost her job and is doing online classes. She cannot pay anything and when she applied for unemployment the people rejected her claim and her daughter is fighting for unemployment still today.

This virus has changed people’s lives for the worse. Everyone’s life has been affected by the virus. Kids can’t go outside and play, parents have no jobs and cannot pay for anything, the elderly are dying and the list goes on and on. This is a serious event and people need to take precaution. Personally, I would much rather stay at home and do online school rather than going outside and being afraid of catching the virus. Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) has done a great job of keeping all the students and faculty safe and making the online process easier. The precaution that the school had to take was the best and safest way of keeping students and faculty from catching the Coronavirus. Stay safe out there.”

-Jhteneck Duran