Lens-Artists Challenge #124: Now and Then

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change~Charles Darwin

This week for LAPC #124, Amy challenges us to show how our perspectives have changed during the pandemic or at another point in time.

Needless to say, this year has been a year of tremendous upheaval in our world. It feels like we’re living in Old Testament times with plagues, war, pestilence, fire, civil unrest, and floods threatening our civilization. Still, as Darwin reminds us, our survival depends on our adaptability.

The changes in my life have been dramatic. As you probably know, we ended our nomadic life as the pandemic spread around the globe and put down roots in New England. This required a mental shift from an international explorer mindset …

Sunset on Savusavu, Fiji

…to a local one. We’ve had fun exploring the Portsmouth community and visiting the sites in our area. Here’s a look at the Portland Bug Light, a diminutive lighthouse modeled after a classic Roman temple. If you look closely, you’ll notice a fellow wearing shorts in this image. Rich and I have a running joke that we always see at least one person every day who’s wearing shorts regardless of the temperature. It must be a custom here to defy the weather.

Portland Bug Light, Maine, Fall, 2020

Like many people, I’m doing most of my traveling online. Instead of researching new places to visit and new food to try as we travel, I’m doing political, historical, and cultural research for my novel. I discovered an interesting fact while doing research on the Irish, Italian and Jewish immigrants in Boston in the 1930s and 1940s .

In some churches in the North End of Boston, you will find two places to worship–one on the main floor, which is often very elaborate, and another in the basement, which is very plain. The reason underscores the impact of prejudice. In the early 1900’s, the established Catholic groups in the city who had emigrated from England and Ireland were resisting the changing demographic as new immigrant groups settled in the city. This was evident even in their churches. Italian immigrants were relegated to the basement, which they converted into their own humble places of worship. Here’s a statue from the basement sanctuary in the Sacred Heart Church in the North End.

Basement chapel, the North End, Boston

We have also adapted to the quarantine restrictions and are following public health advice, by relying on web conferencing instead of visiting friends and family in person. Like many of you, we exchange virtual hugs and news on Zoom, Google Hangouts, and WhatsApp with our close friends and dear relatives. But of course, we still miss our real life visits to people and places. I hope some day we can visit our relatives in New York City and experience once again the vitality of street life– like this chess match captured in Union Square Park. (Don’t you love the bucket of candy under the table?)

A chess match in New York City, Fall, 2019.

I’m still dreaming of the excellent meals we’ve had during our travels, like this pizza from Pizzaiolo in Florence. (Yes, it tastes as good as it looks.). I’m hoping to revisit this wonderful place and sit elbow to elbow with fellow pizza fans, drinking wine and chatting. But for now, I’ve unpacked my cookbooks and I’m trying old and new recipes. I’ve even taken a virtual cooking class on making pizza. (Full disclosure: The folks at Pizzaiolo don’t need to worry about me stealing away any of their customers.)

At times, the changes in our lives seem overwhelming. It’s easy to resent all the restrictions and complications. But I remind myself (sometimes hourly) that change is often painful and never easy. It’s also necessary since our very health and wellbeing depend on it–not only for our personal health, but for the health of our planet. So, instead of looking back in anger, regret or sadness, I’ll look ahead to a future that’s already unfolding before our eyes.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who are celebrating this week. And thanks to all of you who shared photos of your neighborhood in last week’s challenges. I loved the glimpses of these places near your home. You’ve given me some great ideas of places to visit when we can travel again.

I hope you will join us this week for Amy’s Now and Then challenge. Looking ahead to next week, it’s Tina‘s turn to host LAPC #125 on Saturday, November 28th at noon, so be sure to visit her site. 

In closing, once again I’m sending my heart-felt thanks to all of you in our creative community for your continued participation, support, enthusiasm, and creativity.  You always inspire us and cheer us on!   I hope you have a wonderful, creative week and please stay safe.

62 replies »

  1. Sunset on Savusavu is breathtaking, I can’t imagine being there watching the sky changing colors. The image of the statue from the basement sanctuary is beautifully captured. The last two photos are delightful, I hope we get to travel soon. A very beautiful and inspiring post.
    Thank you so much, Patti for reminding me to “look ahead to a future that’s already unfolding before our eyes.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi, Amy. I am hoping we are all on planes traveling somewhere on our “must-see lists” next year! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the images. Savusavu is gorgeous. I couldn’t believe the nature beauty there. It felt like the Garden of Eden. I am really hoping we can all capture images in new places and experience new things. I am looking ahead. I know you are, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A thoughtful and beautiful post, Patti. Reminding us that there must be another life waiting for us, an after Covid life. We dream of things to see and things to do. And to eat! And of togetherness again. It will be here someday – and already unfolding. Beautiful images as always – love the Fiji sunset specially, and the chess match with the candy. An image containing so much life and concentration, joy. It makes me feel hope for a brighter future.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Terrific post Patti – I’ve been amazed at how quickly and how well you two adapted when the pandemic forced you from your nomadic life! You must have an amazing archive of images from your many travels. Love the Fiji sunset of course but the other images are also wonderful and I could dive into that pizza and never look back!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Tina, thanks, but I think it was still a bit traumatic to adjust so quickly! I am quickly running through my archives and hope I can keep finding interesting images. But you know what the pros say….for every 100 images, we’re lucky to find a good one!! And yes, the pizza is amazing. I love that…” dive into the pizza and never look back!” It was blissful!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved the sunset too, Patti. I don’t feel deprived of world travel, but I do feel deprived of my family. I look at how well you’ve adjusted and feel in need of a shake, but sometimes I just can’t do it. Thanks for the good wishes, and I hope you too have a happy Thanksgiving. 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • So true, Jo. It has to be hard to be so far away from family. I am finding the same thing. Very hard. But I am hoping we can safely meet in the coming year. I don’t know how well adjusted I am…I’m muddling through life now like everyone else.🤔. Some days are easier than others. Take care and stay safe and well. And thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes. We still have plenty to be thankful for.

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  5. Street chess, meeting strangers, it all seems another world now. Are we over-reacting? Probably not, but I can’t shake off that feeling. We take walks through the city, and no one talks to anyone any longer. This is the ultimate in alienation. Edward Hopper should have been alive today.

    That pizza looks inviting!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi, IJ. I think some of us will feel safe faster than others. It’s going to be interesting how quickly life “opens up” again. I’ll probably be far behind the front of the pack. It is true. I’ve also thought of Edward Hopper’s Night Cafe. The loneliness is palpable. I walk past the apartments in our building and hear someone practicing the violin and other people talking. Life goes on behind closed doors. Surreal.

      And yes, the pizza is amazing!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Patti, What a lovely essay to accompany your photos. I smiled at the man in shorts. Why is it that there is one in every town, no matter what the weather. The funniest I ever saw was an old man who had been jogging around Greenlake in Seattle, WA in January wearing nothing but a red speedo. He had stopped to talk to a young woman. His skin had chilled to almost the same red as his speedo. I was wearing two pair of pants and shirts and a long down coat doing the same walk around the lake 🙂 That pizza looked fabulous. I bet you are soon going to rival it in your Italian culinary skills. Meanwhile, enjoy a quiet game of chess and have a great week. Have you seen the Netflix series, The Queen’s Gambit? I thought it was fabulous – all about a girl in the 50s – 60s who dared to enter the world of professional chess.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi, Marsha. That’s funny. You see men in shorts/a Speedo, too! Thanks for the Netflix recommendation. Rich had heard that the show caused a huge increase in sales of chess boards. We’ll try it once we’ve finished The Game of Thrones, which is really interesting to watch the 2nd time around. You pick up a lot more of the subtle details. Yes, pizza in Florence. A must. And thanks for your kind words about my pizza…I have to keep trying, I guess!!😊. Take care and have a great week, too. Happy holiday.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I haven’t watched Game of Thrones. I guess I’d better put that on my list. I’m watching The Crown Season 4 first. One of our old neighbors has a professional mobile

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  7. Your post makes me miss travelling even more, Patti… 🙂
    It’s interesting, that basement chapel in the Sacred Heart Church. I’ll have a peek next time I visit the North End. Wonderful photos as always!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Nes. Wonderful! I didn’t realize you had been to Boston and may come back again. It’s a great historical spot, isn’t it? You may also enjoy the Vilna Shul in the West End. It’s a fabulous temple that is raising money for renovation. You feel like you’re stepping back in time. I am hoping I didn’t make you sad about not traveling for a while! Like you, I can’t wait to pack my suitcase again. Take care, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Your opening Darwin quote is so appropriate for today’s situation. Interesting story about the church basement. I’d known of Irish prejudice, but I’d have never guessed there were segregated church areas among the faithful.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi, John. Glad you like the quote! Untangling the web of prejudice in those years has been an interesting task. It existed among many ethnic groups, to be sure. There were some place where people coexisted beautifully, like the West End in Boston. Unfortunately that area was razed for urban renewal in the 1960’s. It was a great loss. Take care and happy Thanksgiving.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m glad that I’ve never real had “the travel bug” – although I love exploring and discovering stuff and have been a few places around the world in my younger days (before we married, settled down and had 5 children – haha)
    However, I can empathize that you must being going slightly koo-koo, having to stay put!
    Btw – I love the shot of the young chess players!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Michael about the chess players. It was a great moment that I wanted to capture. As for going slightly “koo koo,” that description fits! Certainly having 5 children would keep you rooted for a while! I hope all’s well in your part of the world.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Patti – Recently moved to Chilliwack, British Columbia – with plenty of Mountains, Rivers, Lakes and Huge Autumn trees to keep us amused. Still, the covid lockdown here means we can’t even visit our imediate family members now – unless they live with is. Weird times!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I know Chilliwack! Our son lives in Vancouver and he’s visited your area. You live in a beautiful part of the world. It’s true. Very weird. We can’t see our son either. Here’s hoping in 2021…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love the photo of the basement church with classic stature of Mary and the candles lit asking Mary to grant their wishes, their pleas for help . You have captured it so well. Your post is also thought provoking; where were we? where are we now? will be ever get back to where we were? do we want to go back there? Excellent post Patti.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Anne. Thank you! I was so moved by the humbleness of the immigrant sanctuary. It’s a place I want to visit again. And yes, I’m wondering about the future. What will we have learned from this experience? Hopefully, it illuminate and influence our future actions! I always like hearing your thoughts! Take care. Stay well.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I liked your photo of the bug light – a great building for photos! I’m glad you found a nice place to settle down for a while and that you’re learning some of the overlooked local history.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi, Siobhan. I was so surprised to see the Greek architectural details on the Bug Light. We are fortunate to be here. It’s just so worrisome how the cases are really increasing in our area. We went from 0 to 4 cases a day in September to over 70 a day now…which is a lot for a city of 20,000 people. I hope the numbers are lower where you are! Take care and stay well.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Obviously lots to discover close to home, although I’m sure you miss international travel. With patience and due diligence I believe we will recapture some of our “Then” adventures. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Patti!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Very true, Sandy. Patience! And more patience! And realizing that there are things we need to do right here, right now. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, too, Sandy. Ours is a micro celebration–just the 2 of us and friends on a Zoom call!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Patti, a most inspiring and thoughtful post! One day I am sure we will experience togetherness again, and food, and travel and shared experiences. We need to continue to hope and dream

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Patti, as always I enjoy reading your post and seeing your pictures. It never fails that I learn something new or see pictures of something familiar. Especially like Charles Darwin’s quote at the beginning. My favorite is probably the NY street scene – playing chess on the sidewalk. She has her cup of coffee and he has a bucket of candy with strangers stopping to watch the match! I wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar scene in Boston. Great pictures also of the lighthouse and statue in the basement at the chapel. Wishing you and your husband a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 2 people

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